Korea records $6.93 bn current account surplus in March

2024.05.09 10:56:02 | 2024.05.09 11:00:07

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

South Korea‘s current account surplus was $6.93 billion in March 2024 for its 11th consecutive month of surpluses.

According to the preliminary balance of payments data released by the Bank of Korea on Thursday, the nation’s current account surplus trend that started in May 2023 continued in March 2024, but also surpassed the previous month’s surplus of $6.86 billion. With the March figure, the current account surplus for the first quarter of 2024 totaled $16.84 billion, an improvement of $22.8 billion from the same period during the previous year.

By category, the goods account recorded a surplus of $809 million for a 12th consecutive month since April 2023 and successfully moved from a deficit of $1.18 billion in the same month in 2023 to a surplus within a year.

Exports were $58.27 billion, up 3.0 percent from March last year, continuing an upward trend for six consecutive months. Among the items, semiconductor exports increased significantly by 34.5 percent. In terms of export destinations, exports to Southeast Asia (12.7 percent) and the United States (11.6 percent) were strong.

Imports totaled $50.18 billion, down 13.1 percent. Imports of raw materials particularly decreased by 18.4 percent due to the decline in energy prices. The decline rates for coal, gas, industrial chemical products, and crude oil were 40.5 percent, 37.6 percent, 21.7 percent, and 12.8 percent respectively.

Imports of capital goods also fell by 3.5 percent, led by a 23.6 percent decline in semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Imports of consumer goods also fell by 9.5 percent, with passenger cars down 21.8 percent and cereals down 13.1 percent.

But the services account recorded a deficit of $2.43 billion. The deficit increased from a deficit of $1.97 billion a year ago and a deficit of $1.77 billion in the previous month, with the travel deficit in particular hitting $1.07 billion. However, the deficit decreased from February due to an increase in foreign tourists and a decrease in Korean travelers‘ overseas trips.

[Graphics by Song Jji-yoon]이미지 확대

[Graphics by Song Jji-yoon]

In the intellectual property account, the deficit widened further to $800 million as patent and trademark royalty income declined, exceeding February 2024’s deficit of $4 million.

The transportation account also turned from a surplus of $180 million to a deficit of $120 million in one month. This was due to an increase in maritime transportation payments, according to the central bank. The primary income account maintained a surplus of $1.83 billion, the bulk of which came from dividend income ($1.78 billion), thanks to dividends from Korean companies’ foreign subsidiaries.

The net asset position of the financial account increased by $11.06 billion in March 2024.

In terms of direct investment, Korean residents’ overseas investment increased by $2.83 billion, while foreigners‘ investment in Korea increased by $1.61 billion, which was largely attributable to acquisitions of Korean bio-companies.

In securities investment, Korean residents’ overseas investment increased by $8.88 billion, mainly in bonds. Conversely, foreign investment in Korea decreased by $0.84 billion, mainly in bonds.

By Pulse

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