Korea’s Nov. current account surplus narrows to 7-month low

2019.01.08 12:01:27 | 2019.01.08 13:44:34

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South Korea’s current account surplus shrank to its smallest in seven months in November as growth in exports turned feeble due to reduced semiconductor demand.

According to preliminary balance of payments data released by Bank of Korea on Tuesday, the country’s current account surplus hit $5.06 billion in November, keeping up the historically-long surplus streak since March 2012. The surplus, however, narrowed to the lowest since April last year when it recorded $1.77 billion.

The surplus in goods account plunged 30.5 percent on year to $7.97 billion, the smallest since February last year, as exports grew a pitiful 0.5 percent on year to $51.72 billion after double-digit expansions in earlier part of the year. Imports, on the other hands, rose 9.3 percent on year to $43.74 billion on rising oil prices.

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Service account deficit in November shrank 30 percent on year to $2.29 billion, with the deficit in travel account narrowing 18.1 percent to $1.27 billion. Visitors to Korea jumped 23.5 percent on year from a pickup in Chinese and Japanese tourists, while the number of Korean outbound travelers added 3.1 percent.

In the financial account, net assets expanded by $4.26 billion in November. Koreans’ overseas investment grew by $2.01 billion and those made by foreign investors in Korea increased by $1.79 billion. Koreans’ overseas securities investment grew by $4.84 billion, while those by foreign investors in Korea were down by $190 million. Foreign investors’ holdings in Korean securities fell for the third straight month amid soured investment sentiment.

By Lee Yu-sup and Lee Ha-yeon

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