South Korea June Crude Imports Rise 3% After Prices Fell

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, increased crude oil imports by 3 percent from a year earlier in June after prices dropped.

The country, which imports all of its crude, purchased 78.2 million barrels last month, increasing from 75.9 million barrels a year earlier, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement today, citing preliminary estimates. That is less than the 82.4 million barrels imported in May.

The average price of Dubai crude, the benchmark for the country, declined 12.2 percent during the 12-month period, the ministry said. Costs for June crude oil imports rose 2.2 percent to $8.8 billion, lagging behind the 3 percent rise in volume, according to the government data.

The country’s natural-gas import bill jumped 25.8 percent to $2.6 billion in June, while costs for coal purchases fell 5.3 percent to $1.3 billion, according to the ministry. South Korea, which depends on nuclear power to generate a third of its electricity needs, has suspended two reactors for safety checks and shifted to other fuels.

Oil-product exports rose 9.9 percent to $4.7 billion from a year earlier. Sales of petrochemicals overseas fell 21.2 percent to $3.1 billion, the ministry said.

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