South Korea’s producer prices decline to six-year low

Seoul, Feb 19 (IANS) Prices for goods and services traded among suppliers declined to the lowest in almost six years in January due to lower global crude oil prices, central bank data showed on Friday.

The producer price index (PPI) stood at 98.52 in January, down 0.5 percent from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). It marked the lowest in five years and 10 months since March 2010, Xinhua reported.

The producer prices kept a downward trend for seven months through January as global crude oil prices continued to fall on worries about supply glut.

Major oil-producing countries, including Saudi Arabia, recently decided to maintain oil output at the current level, boosting expectations for excessive oil supply.

Dubai crude, South Korea’s benchmark, traded at an average price of $26.86 per barrel in January, down 23.1 percent from the previous month’s $34.92 per barrel.

Prices for industrial goods, including coal and oil products, tumbled 10.5 percent last month on a monthly basis, while those for primary metal products and chemicals dipped 1.6 percent and 0.3 percent each.

Prices for electricity, natural gas and tap water declined 3.3 percent on the back of a cut in city gas prices.

Prices for agricultural, livestock and fishery products gained for three straight months at 2.4 percent in January, and services prices inched up 0.3 percent.

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