Consumption of petroleum products in South Korea hit a three-year low in 2014 despite a sharp fall in oil prices as the domestic economy remained tepid, the state oil firm said Monday.
A total of 823 million barrels of refined petroleum products were sold domestically last year, down 0.38 percent from 2013, according to data by the Korea National Oil Corporation, according to South Korea's News Agency (Yonhap).
Domestic consumption had been on a steady rise from 2009-2012 after a steep slide in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, but it slumped from 2013-2014 as the domestic economy moved sideways.
By product, gasoline consumption inched up 0.08 percent on-year to 73.4 million barrels in 2014, and diesel increased 1 percent to 144.7 million barrels, data showed.
In contrast, sales of liquefied petroleum gas shed 3.6 percent to 89.67 million barrels, and kerosene plunged 18 percent to 15.41 million barrels in the period.
The state-funded Korea Energy Economics Institute forecast the domestic petroleum consumption will gain 1.8 percent this year when assuming the Korean economy grows 3.4 percent and the average price of Dubai crude stays at $63.3 per barrel.
"Demand in transportation fuel will rise thanks to low oil prices, but naphtha consumption is expected to remain slow because of the weak economic recovery and downturn in the petrochemical industry," KEEI researcher Lee Seung-moon said.