Balance in the current account rises slightly

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Balance in the current account rises slightly

The current account surplus inched up slightly in October to a 12-month high.

It totaled $7.83 billion that month, up from $7.76 billion in October, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea.

Despite the increase, the goods trade surplus narrowed to $8.03 billion from $8.7 billion, pulled down by declining prices of semiconductors and petrochemicals.

On an annual basis, the downturn was more obvious, with the goods surplus falling 23.7 percent.

The drop in the goods trade surplus was offset by the services trade, which measures travel, transport and construction.

The services account deficit declined from $2.26 billion the previous month to $1.72 billion, helped by a rise in spending by inbound tourists, especially those from China and Southeast Asia.

Korea’s primary income account surplus grew from $1.54 billion to $1.83 billion on month. Exports plunged 14.5 percent on year to $49.12 billion in October on a customs clearance basis, extending the slump to an 11th consecutive month due to weak prices of semiconductors and a trade row between the United States and China.

Korea’s imports dipped 12.5 percent on year to $41.09 billion.

The current account has been in the black since May, one month after the country posted its first current account deficit in seven years largely due to what bank officials have called a one-off increase in dividend payments.

In October, the country posted a $1.22 billion surplus in dividend income and a $690 million surplus in interest income.

The deficit in the service account decreased on a sharp drop in the intellectual property account deficit, which narrowed from $660 million in September to $140 million in October.

BY PARK EUN-JEE, YONHAP [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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