The surplus in South Korea’s current account balance shrank to a six-year low in April as big Korean companies rewarded shareholders - nearly half of them foreigners - record cash dividend payout after 2017 fiscal settlements.
According to preliminary balance of payments data released by Bank of Korea on Tuesday, the country maintained a surplus in its current account for the 74th consecutive month, but in the smallest number since April 2012.
The surplus shriveled to $1.77 billion from $5.18 billion a month ago and from $3.67 billion a year ago as exports slowed on top of hefty cash payout of $7.57 billion.
Goods account surplus fell 10.2 percent on year to $10.36 billion in April from $11.54 billion a year ago. Exports rose 7 percent to $51.51 billion mainly led by semiconductors, while imports gained 12.5 percent to $41.15 billion due to crude price hike and purchase of chip-making equipments.
Service account deficit in April narrowed to $1.98 billion from $2.42 billion a year earlier due to a recovery in Chinese tourists.
The deficit in travel account slipped $1.09 billion, the lowest since December 2016.
By Kim In-oh and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]