South Korea's import prices of key raw materials dropped for the fifth straight month in December on a steady decline of textile and agricultural prices, a trade association said Monday.
The Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) said its price index for imported commodities stood at 368.80 last month, down 3.32 points from the previous month.
The index fell in August after a 10-month rising streak. Using 1995 as the base year, the benchmark index covers 56 key imported raw materials, ranging from corn and soybeans to crude oil and aluminum scraps.
The KOIMA attributed the December decline to a continued slide in prices of some non-ferrous metals, agricultural products, textiles and other raw materials on dwindling demand in the wake of a global economic slowdown.
However, South Korea's consumer prices grew more than 4 percent for a second straight month in December, raising worries that inflation could remain a drag on the nation's economy, a government report showed Friday.
According to the report by Statistics Korea, the country's consumer price index rose 4.2 percent in December from a year earlier. That followed a 4.2 percent on-year gain in November.