South Korea, the world’s fifth- largest oil importer, purchased the most last month since October even as unit prices increased.
Crude imports rose 12 percent to 81.1 million barrels in May from 72.3 million barrels a year earlier, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement today. That was the biggest amount since 83 million barrels in October.
South Korea, which depends on nuclear power for a third of its electricity, has suspended two reactors for safety checks and shifted to coal and other fossil fuels.
The country’s bill for crude imports rose 18 percent to $10 billion as prices climbed 5.4 percent to $123.90 a barrel, the ministry said, citing preliminary figures for last month. Gas import costs gained 22 percent to $2.37 billion in May, while coal costs fell 5.7 percent to $1.39 billion, according to the ministry.
Oil-product exports rose 0.9 percent to $4.58 billion from a year earlier. Petrochemical exports fell 17 percent to $3.23 billion, the ministry said.
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