Trade terms worsen for 11th month in Feb. amid surging import prices

SEOUL-- South Korea's terms of trade worsened for the 11th straight month in February due to faster rising import prices than export prices, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The nation's net terms-of-trade index for goods -- a gauge of overall trade terms -- stood at 87.69 last month, down 7.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

This marked the 11th straight month that the index has declined on-year since April when it fell 0.6 percent.

Compared with a year earlier, the index was also down 1.8 percent, the first downturn in two months.

The figure is calculated by dividing the index for export prices by that for import prices. It shows the amount of imports a country can buy for each unit of exports.

The BOK ascribed the worsened trade terms to faster growth of import costs than exports. Import prices jumped 21.9 percent on-year in February, while export prices grew 12.8 percent over the same period.

Import prices have been growing amid high crude oil and commodity prices driven up by rebounding global demand and supply disruptions worsened by the Russia-Ukraine war that broke out in mid-February. South Korea depends heavily on imports for energy and key materials.

Earlier BOK data showed that the average monthly import prices of Dubai crude oil, South Korea's benchmark, stayed at US$92.36 per barrel in February, up 10.7 percent from a month earlier.

Source: Yonhap News Agency