South Korea’s export prices edged up in February against the previous month due to weakening of the local currency value against the U.S. dollar, while import price fell in line with the slide in international oil prices.
According to the Bank of Korea (BOK) Friday, the country’s export price index in February gained 1.2 percent from the previous month to 97.90, reversing from a 0.8 percent on-month fall marked in January. Against a year-ago period, the index fell 1.8 percent, extending losing streak for the ninth month.
When exchange rate’s effect removed, the index slipped 1.1 percent on month and 7.2 percent on year.
A gain in export price works favorably for export companies, improving profitability, and vice versa for a decline.
“The export prices of computers, electronics and transportation equipment rose as the won weakened versus the dollar,” said Kang Hwan-gu, a BOK official. The dollar rose to 1,193.79 won in February from 1,164.28 won a month earlier.
Agricultural and fishery product prices rose 2.3 percent in February from the previous month. Computers, electronic and optic devices gained 3.5 percent, machineries 1.7 percent, and transportation equipment 2.0 percent.
Prices of DRAM chips, main export item, climbed 2.8 percent on month but fell 35.3 percent on year.
Import price index in February retreated 1.3 percent on month to 106.52, its second fall in a row. Against a year earlier, it was down 0.9 percent. Index without the exchange rate effect slid 3.4 percent on month and 6.2 percent on year.
Falling international oil prices weakened import prices. Prices of Dubai crude, the benchmark of Asia, averaged $54.23 per barrel in February, plunging 15.7 percent from the previous month. Fall in import prices of oil translates into low inflation.
Prices of raw material dropped 6.9 percent on month on weak manufacturing and mining goods prices. Intermediate goods prices were up slightly by 0.8 percent as gains in computer, electronic, optic device prices offset the fall in coal, petroleum product prices. Prices of capital goods and consumer goods rose 1.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
By Cho Jeehyun
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