Gasoline prices in South Korea dipped to the lowest level in six years in the first half of this year due to falling crude oil prices, the state-run oil company said Tuesday.
The average gasoline price stood at 1,514.5 won (US$1.29) per liter in the January-June period, the lowest since early 2009, when it was 1,514.4 won, according to the Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC).
The retail price hovered over 2,000 won in the first half of 2012 as crude prices shot up to over $100 a barrel, but it came down to the 1,700 won-level in late 2014 and fell to a little over 1,500 won earlier this year.
Dubai crude spot prices stayed above $100 a barrel from 2011 to 2013, but they have plummeted since late 2014 to stay around $50 to 60 this year.
Diesel also trended down as local refiners cut the overall prices of petroleum products.
The average diesel price peaked at 1,828.6 won per liter in the first half of 2012, and slipped to 1,328.6 won in the first six months of this year, the lowest since 2008, the KNOC said.
Industry officials expected oil prices to be steady at the current level in the latter half of this year, while closely monitoring the currency exchange rate as the weakening local currency could push up the import prices.
The Korean won fell to 1,068.6 against the U.S. dollar on April 29, but it rose to 1,165.5 won on Monday, rising 9 percent during the three-month period.
Market watchers forecast oil prices to hold onto the current level for a while as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to maintain its current output ceiling in an apparent move to defend its market share.
A landmark Iranian nuclear deal reached earlier this month also fueled worries over a supply glut as the Middle Eastern country with world's fourth-largest oil reserves looks to resume crude exports once sanctions are lifted.