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South Korea import prices fall for 25th straight mth, BOK rate cut seen
[Seoul] South Korea's import prices in won terms dropped more slowly in September from a year ago, data from the central bank showed on Wednesday, the 25th straight month of declines in an economy facing few inflationary pressures.
Import prices fell 8.8 per cent in September in annual terms, the Bank of Korea said, continuing their longest falling streak on record, although the fall was a little slower than in August, when prices fell 9.9 per cent.
A central bank official attributed the fall to crude oil prices plunging 10.5 per cent last month from a year ago. A 5 per cent rise in the won's strength against the dollar also contributed to the fall in prices, he said.
The data comes just hours ahead of the Bank of Korea's monetary policy meeting, where it is expected to cut rates for a second time in three months in a further bid to re-energise a weak recovery.
Actual inflation has been outside the lower end of the central bank's 2.5 to 3.5 per cent target band since June 2012 and Wednesday's import price data is expected to add to concerns that price pressures will remain muted for longer than first thought.
Domestic demand has been picking up, according to other data, but is still too slow to herald a firm recovery, according to policymakers.
Meanwhile, export prices in won terms fell 6.5 per cent in September from a year ago, the same data showed. This was the slowest decline for export prices since a 4.3 per cent drop in March. REUTERS