gasoline prices-rise

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- Prices of gasoline at the pump in South Korea continued to rise for the fifth straight week, raising concerns that higher fuel costs could put an additional burden on motorists, data showed Saturday.

Gasoline prices at gas stations across the country averaged 1,993.8 won (US$1.8) per liter this week, up 5.5 won from a week earlier, according to the data provided by the Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC).

This marked the fifth straight week that gasoline prices have logged on-week gains. The growth rate, however, slowed slightly compared with the previous four weeks, the data showed.

Diesel prices also rose 3.4 won on-week to 1,796.0 won per liter, while the prices of kerosene increased 1.3 won to 1,403.9 won.

Fuel prices are one of the major factors that could affect the country's consumer prices, which currently stay in a relatively stable range. South Korea depends on imported oil for most of its energy needs.

Recent stabilizing prices of international crude oil and cost adjustments being made by local refinery companies will likely ease price hikes starting next week, the KNOC said.

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