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SEJONG, March 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's imports of vehicles and wristwatches grew significantly in 2013 from a year earlier while its purchases of coffee and jewelry dropped, the customs office said Tuesday.
Last year, South Korea imported some US$5.48 billion worth of cars, up 21.9 percent from $4.49 billion in the previous year, according to the Korea Customs Service.
Imports of watches jumped 12 percent on-year to some $254 million, apparently reflecting growing demand here for fashionable items, it said.
Imports of bottled water nearly tripled from $9 million in 2012 to $25 million.
"Imports of bottled water have been growing steadily in recent years with most imports coming from China and France, in that order," the office said in a press release.
The country's imports of ground coffee, on the other hand, plunged 15.9 percent on-year to $502 million while purchases of coffee beans gained 6.1 percent.
The customs office said the rise in imports of coffee beans may reflect a growing preference here for high-quality or specialty coffee.
Imports of jewelry amounted to about $1.97 billion last year, down 7.5 percent from $2.13 billion in 2012.
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