SEJONG, May 1 (Korea Bizwire) — The volume of South Korea’s energy imports inched up on-year in the first quarter of 2015, but its value dropped sharply due mainly to weak international crude oil prices, customs data showed Friday.
According to the data by the Korea Customs Service (KCS), South Korea imported 78.24 million tons of energy products, including crude oil, coal and natural gas, during the January-March period, up 1.4 percent from a year earlier.
The value of the imports, however, plunged 39.9 percent on-year to US$24.09 billion in the three-month period.
“Demand pushed up the import volume, but the country paid much less than before thanks to weak international crude oil prices,” a KCS official said.
In terms of value, energy imports made up 21.5 percent of the country’s total imports during the first quarter.
South Korea imported 33.14 million tons of crude oil in the first quarter, up 7.9 percent from a year earlier. Its value, however, fell 46.5 percent to $13.3 billion.
Coal imports came to 33.73 million tons, up 4.2 percent from a year before, while its value was down 9.5 percent to $2.9 billion, the data showed.
The country’s imports of natural gas fell 19.1 percent on-year to 11.38 million tons, with the purchase price also dropping 34.5 percent to $7.9 billion.
Australia, Indonesia and Russia were largest exporters of coal to South Korea, controlling 86.1 percent of the market, while Qatar, Oman and Malaysia were the top three providers of natural gas, controlling 54.4 percent of the market, according to the data.