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Hyundai Motor's 4th-quarter profits increase 13 percent on overseas sales

SEOUL--Hyundai Motor Co. said its fourth-quarter profit increased 13 percent over a year earlier thanks to higher overseas sales.

But its earnings for the whole of 2013 fell, underlining Hyundai's waning popularity among Korean consumers and labor strife.

South Korea's largest automaker said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit reached 2.1 trillion won ($2 billion) compared with 1.9 trillion won a year earlier.

Hyundai's 2013 profit dropped 1 percent to 9 trillion won. Hyundai blamed lower demand from domestic consumers and production disruptions caused by strikes. Automakers from Europe and the U.S. expanded their sales in South Korea by introducing cheaper models and benefiting from free trade deals that phased out tariffs.

Hyundai, the maker of Genesis sedan, also attributed currency rates for its lower annual profit. The South Korean won posted gains against the U.S. dollar while Japanese automakers enjoyed the benefits of a cheaper yen as a result of the Bank of Japan's aggressive monetary easing.

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