Current account back in black after Jan. deficit

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Current account back in black after Jan. deficit

Korea’s current account balance shifted back into the black in February from a deficit a month earlier on solid exports of key products, the central bank said yesterday.

The current account surplus reached $640 million last month, compared with a $970 million shortfall in the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea. The February figure, however, was lower than a $1.13 billion surplus a year earlier.

In January, the country ran a current account deficit for the first time in two years. The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

Korea’s goods balance posted a surplus of $1.39 billion last month, a turnaround from a deficit of $1.62 billion a month earlier.

Exports rose 20.6 percent from a year earlier to $46.4 billion in February, and imports increased 23.3 percent to $44.9 billion on higher oil prices.

Shipments to the United States, the European Union and other regions surged last month, according to the central bank.

“The current account surplus is expected to widen down the road, and this year’s estimate of $13 billion surplus will be possible,” said Yang Jae-ryong, director of the BOK’s monetary and financial statistics division.

The capital and financial account, covering cross-border investments, posted a net outflow of $690 million in February, shifting from a net inflow of $1.31 billion the previous month, the central bank said.

The current account surplus is expected to narrow to $13 billion this year from $26.5 billion in 2011, according to BOK estimates. Yonhap

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