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South Korea’s December Crude Imports Fall Amid Price Drop

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest oil importer, purchased 0.3 percent less crude in December compared with a year ago.

Imports declined to 80.1 million barrels last month from 80.4 million barrels a year earlier, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement. Purchasing prices dropped 0.8 percent to $112.1 a barrel from a year earlier, the ministry said, citing preliminary figures. The bill for buying oil fell 1.1 percent to $8.9 billion.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy exported almost half of the crude volume that it imported in 2011 after refining it into gasoline, diesel and other products.

Overseas shipments of oil products climbed 0.3 percent in December from the previous year to $4.5 billion, according to today’s report. Petrochemical shipments were valued at $3.9 billion, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

Imports of liquefied natural gas cost $3.9 billion in December, a fall of 7.7 percent from the same month a year earlier. Coal imports fell 43 percent, the ministry said.

-- Editors: Abhay Singh, Ravil Shirodkar

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