South Korea’s current account surplus grows in nine months

SEOUL (XINHUA) – South Korea’s current account surplus posted the first year-over-year growth in nine months in November last year, central bank data showed yesterday.

Current account surplus, the broadest measure of cross-border trade, reached USD5.97 billion in November, up USD0.84 billion from a year earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It marked the first increase in nine months since last February. The current account balance stayed in black for the seventh consecutive month since May last year.

Trade surplus for goods amounted to USD7.39 billion in November, down USD0.11 billion from a year earlier.

Export, which takes up about half of the export-driven economy, declined 10.3 per cent over the year to USD46.5 billion in the month amid the global economic slump and the continued downturn of the global chip industry.

Import diminished 11.7 per cent to USD39.11 billion in the cited month.

Services account balance, which measures the flow of travel, transport costs and royalties, logged a deficit of USD1.89 billion in November, down from a deficit of USD2.19 billion tallied a year ago.

The reduced deficit was attributed to the improved travel account balance. The travel account deficit slipped to USD950 million in November from USD1.35 billion a year earlier amid the rising number of foreign tourists to the country.

Primary income account, which includes monthly salary and investment income, saw a surplus of USD970 million in the month, up from a surplus of USD340 million a year ago.

Financial account, which gauges cross-border capital flow without transactions in goods and services, logged a net outflow of USD5.34 billion in the month.

Overseas direct investment by local residents increased USD4.15 billion, while direct investment in South Korea by foreigners gained USD140 million.

For the portfolio investment, which includes stock and bond transactions, overseas investment by domestic residents grew USD2.95 billion.

Foreign investment in local stocks and bonds retreated USD1.88 billion.