SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s energy consumption dropped for the second consecutive year in 2020 due to an economic slowdown sparked by the coronavirus outbreak, a report showed Wednesday.
The country’s overall energy consumption stood at 222.1 million tons of oil equivalent (TOEs) last year, down 4 percent from a year earlier according to the report from the Korea Energy Economics Institute.
The decrease follows a 0.6 percent on-year decline in 2019, which was the first annual drop in 10 years.
Last year’s drop came as the fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak caused Asia’s fourth-largest economy to hit the skids.
Energy consumption for transportation shrank at the fastest pace of 9.4 percent as the coronavirus outbreak resulted in movement restrictions.
Industrial use of energy, which accounts for the largest part of the total, fell 3.8 percent on-year, while household and commercial consumption gained 0.6 percent as the outbreak forced more people to stay home.
Falling consumption caused South Korea’s energy imports to plunge nearly 32 percent on-year to US$86.43 billion last year. The amount accounted for 18.5 percent of the country’s total imports, the lowest portion in 24 years.
The institute, meanwhile, forecast South Korea’s energy demand to increase 4.1 percent on-year in 2021 as the country is expected to escape from the pandemic fallout.