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S. Korea posts current account surplus of US$4.2 bln in Sept.

All Headlines 08:22 October 28, 2009

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's current account surplus more than doubled in September as a downturn in exports slowed sharply thanks to increased shipments of cars and semiconductors, the central bank said Wednesday.

The current account surplus was US$4.2 billion last month, up from a revised $1.91 billion in August, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said in a report. September marked the eighth consecutive month that the country's current account was in the black.

For the first nine months of this year, the accumulative surplus stood at a record $32.2 billion, the central bank said.

The nation's current account, the broadest measure of cross-border trade of goods and services, has been in the black since February as imports have fallen faster than exports in the face of the global economic slowdown.

The continued surplus is widely believed to further boost the Korean currency, which has gained nearly 33 percent against the U.S. dollar since hitting an 11-month low in early March.

The goods balance surplus sharply rose to $5.45 billion in September, compared with a revised $3.33 billion in surplus a month earlier, as outbound shipments fell at a slower pace.

Exports declined 7.8 percent on-year to $34.51 billion last month, posting a decline for an eleventh month. The decline slowed from a a 20.9 percent decrease the previous month. Imports tumbled 24.6 percent to $29.8 billion.

A shortfall in the service account, which includes Koreans' spending on overseas trips, narrowed to $1.63 billion in September, compared with $1.79 billion in August.

The income account, which tracks wages for foreign workers and dividend payments overseas, logged a surplus of $548.1 million last month, down from $587.4 million in August.

The BOK predicted in July the country's current account surplus may come in at around $29 billion for 2009, revising up from its previous estimate of $18 billion. Earlier this month, the government said the yearly surplus will be around $30 billion.

Last year, South Korea registered a current account deficit of $6.41 billion, the first shortfall in 11 years, as rising oil prices jacked up import bills.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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