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S. Korea's current account surplus declined in 2016

All News 12:00 June 20, 2017

SEOUL, June 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's current account surplus dropped slightly in 2016 from a year earlier due mainly to decreased exports, data by the central bank showed Tuesday.

The current account surplus came to US$98.68 billion in 2016, compared with $105.94 billion a year earlier, according to preliminary estimates released by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

By country, South Korea's current account surplus with the United States fell to $31.15 billion in 2016 from $33.03 billion a year earlier. The 2016 figure marked the lowest since 2012, when the corresponding figure came to $19.04 billion.

The BOK said a drop in the export of cars and steel products are to blame for the decline in the current account surplus with the U.S.

Still, South Korea's service balance deficit with the U.S. rose to $14.28 billion in 2016 from $14.09 billion a year earlier.

The latest data came as South Korea is making efforts to cut its trade surplus with the world's largest economy by increasing imports of U.S. shale gas and aircraft.

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a set of executive orders to review all trade pacts as a way to reduce the country's trade deficit in goods that exceeds US$700 billion through anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

South Korea has been one of the targets as Asia's fourth-largest economy posted $23.3 billion in a trade surplus with the U.S. The Seoul-Washington free trade pact, which took effect in 2012, is regarded as one of the main reasons behind the U.S. deficit.

Meanwhile, South Korea's current account surplus with China reached $40.72 billion in 2016, down from $46.73 billion a year earlier, according to the BOK.

The decline came as South Korea's exports to China, its largest trading partner, fell 6.16 percent in 2016 from a year earlier.

South Korea's current account deficit with Japan widened to $20.48 billion in 2016 from $19.08 billion a year earlier due to increased imports of machinery and precision equipment.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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