Seoul import prices rise first in eight months

Seoul, March 14: South Korea's import prices rose for the first time in eight months due to a rebound in crude oil prices, central bank data showed on Monday.

The import price index stood at 76.16 in February, up 1.6 percent from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea. It marked the first increase in eight months, Xinhua news agency reported.

The rebound was attributed to a rise in crude oil prices. Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, averaged 28.87 US dollars in February, up 7.5 percent from the previous month.

Raw material prices advanced 3.7 percent in February on a monthly basis due to higher prices of mining and oil products. Capital and consumer goods gained 2.2 percent and 0.5 percent each.

The export price index added 0.8 percent from a month earlier to 81.99 in February, keeping an upward trend for three straight months.

The higher export prices came as the South Korean currency weakened 1.3 percent versus the US dollar in February from a month ago.

Export prices for farm goods increased 3.9 percent last month, with those for coal and oil products rising 0.8 percent.