South Korea’s December Crude Oil Imports Rise 2.7 Percent

Jan. 1 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil importer, increased overseas purchases of the fuel by 2.7 percent last month, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

Imports rose to 79.8 million barrels from 77.7 million a year earlier, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement today, without providing reasons for the change. The country’s import bill jumped 35 percent to $9.1 billion after prices increased 31 percent to $113.80 a barrel, the ministry said.

Natural gas imports rose 91 percent to $4.33 billion in December, while coal shipments gained 39 percent to $1.7 billion, according to the ministry.

South Korea’s oil-product exports rose 48 percent from a year earlier to $4.59 billion last month. Petrochemical exports gained 12 percent to $3.57 billion.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at