SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s export prices dropped for a second consecutive month in April, central bank data showed Friday, apparently adding to woes over a slump in outbound shipments by Asia’s fourth-largest economy amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
The export prices index, in terms of local currency, came to 94.54 in the month, down 1.6 percent from the revised 96.08 the previous month, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
From a year earlier, the reading marks a 5.9 percent drop. April also marks the 11th consecutive month of on-year decline.
In April, the country’s outbound shipments plunged 24.3 percent on-year to US$36.9 billion, while imports moved down 15.9 percent to $37.8 billion, leaving a $950 million trade deficit, the first of its kind since January 2012, when the country posted a $2.32 billion trade deficit.’
The drop was partly attributed to a sharp decline in global oil prices, which in turn pulled down the price of petroleum and petrochemical products, both key South Korean export items.
“The export price index dropped 1.6 percent from the previous month in April despite an increase in the price of computers and electronic products due to a drop in the prices of coal, petroleum and chemical products,” the BOK said in a press release.
In April, the average price of Dubai crude came to $20.39 per barrel, down 39.5 percent from a month earlier, according to the BOK.
Consequently, the export price of South Korean coal and petroleum products tumbled 31.1 percent on-month and 60.1 percent from the same month last year.
The drop in global oil prices also sharply pulled down the country’s import prices, with crude accounting monthly for nearly or even more than one-quarter of South Korea’s overall imports.
The country’s import prices index, in terms of the local currency, plunged 5.1 percent from a month before to 95.52 in the month. It marks a 14.1 percent plunge from a year earlier.
Despite its import prices falling at a faster clip than export prices, South Korea posted its first trade deficit in over eight years last month, the government said earlier, with its exports shrinking at a faster rate than imports.