Korea’s Apr current account surplus 6-yr low due to surge in dividend payouts

2018.06.05 13:51:31 | 2018.06.05 21:21:27

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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.

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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.

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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

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