The Bank of Korea announced on May 14 that South Korea’s export price index based on a reference year of 2010 and a reference value of 100 was 83.48 last month, up 0.5 percent from the previous month.
The index rose for the third consecutive month after a rise of 0.2 percent in February. The rise in April is the highest since July 2018, when it was 2.5 percent.
The rise was led by a simultaneous rise in won-dollar exchange rate and oil price. The monthly average exchange rate went up from 1,130.72 won to 1,140.95 won from March to April. The Dubai crude price per barrel moved up from 66.94 won to 70.74 won during the same period.
The export price index of manufactured goods rose 0.5 percent in one month, led by coal, petroleum and chemical products. That of electrical and electronic equipment fell 0.7 percent and that of semiconductors fell for nine months in a row, led by DRAM. The latter fell 10.1 percent in January this year and 4.3 percent, 3.4 percent and 5.2 percent in the following months.
Those of gasoline, diesel, TV LCD and jet fuel rose 10.7 percent, 3.8 percent, 1.2 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. On the other hand, DRAM, cold-rolled stainless steel sheet and computer storage device fell 9.9 percent, 3.9 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively. The DRAM index, which fell 5.2 percent in March, went down for the ninth consecutive month amid inventory adjustment by leading global IT companies.
The import price index, in the meantime, went up 1.5 percent to 88.91, rising for the third consecutive month based on international oil prices. Raw material showed a month-on-month increase of 2.8 percent while intermediate, capital and consumer goods posted an increase of 1.1 percent, 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. Specifically, crude oil rose 6.9 percent, naphtha 6.6 percent, bituminous coal 4 percent and methyl ethyl ketone 6 percent.
The export price index fell 0.4 percent as compared with the previous month. In contrast, the import price index rose 4.8 percent. On a contract currency basis, those fell 0.4 percent and rose 0.7 percent.