Current account continues string of surpluses

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Current account continues string of surpluses

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The nation’s current account posted a surplus for the 19th consecutive month in August, and the central bank remains confident the account balance - the total of the monthly surpluses - will easily reach $53 billion by the end of the year.

The Bank of Korea announced yesterday that the current account balance last month was $5.7 billion, compared to $6.8 billion in July.

“Although the surplus was smaller than the previous month, it was still larger than what we had expected,” said Jang Young-taek, head of BOK’s economics statistics department. “We won’t have any problems reaching our earlier projection.”

As of August, the current account balance was $42.2 billion, nearly twice the $22.4 billion surplus for the first eight months last year.

Exports grew last month by 7.9 percent from a year earlier to $46.3 billion, while imports growth slowed 1.4 percent year-on-year to nearly $41 billion.

The central bank said import goods grew by volume, but value growth was limited largely because of lower prices for raw materials.

This contributed to a $5.3 billion surplus in the goods account, which was more than double the $2.5 billion recorded a year earlier but $400 million less than in July.

The service account recorded a $100 million surplus as the deficit from travel widened from the previous month.

The travel account showed a $1 billion deficit, compared to $840 million deficit in July. August is normally a part of Korea’s vacation period when many people travel abroad.

The deficit last month was even larger than last year’s $800 million. The service account balance in July had a $360 million surplus.

The financial account reported a net outflow of $7.7 billion, compared to a $7.3 billion deficit the previous month.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

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