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(LEAD) S. Korea's current account surplus dips to US$5.72 bln for Oct.

All Headlines 10:26 December 05, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 5-9, photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's current account surplus contracted in October from a year earlier due mainly to a decreased surplus in the goods account and an increased deficit in the service account, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The country's current account surplus reached US$5.72 billion in October, compared with a surplus of $7.69 billion a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The BOK said the goods account surplus narrowed to $8.6 billion in October from $9.16 billion a year earlier.

Moreover, the services account deficit widened to a record $3.53 billion from a deficit of $1.79 billion a year earlier due to a rise in overseas trips and foreign business services.

An increase in outbound travel deepened the travel account deficit to $1.67 billion in October, marking the second-largest monthly red figure. The deficit in part was caused by the 10-day-long Chuseok holiday during the month.

Some 2.23 million people went abroad in October, up a sharp 19.6 percent from a year ago, while the number of foreign visitors slumped 26.6 percent on-year to 1.17 million. In particular, some 345,000 Chinese travelers came to Korea over the one-month period, a 49.3 percent drop from a year earlier

"During the long holiday period, outbound tourists increased, but foreigners, especially Chinese visitors, backtracked sharply due to the Beijing government's travel ban," a BOK official said.

China -- South Korea's largest trading partner -- has imposed restrictions on South Korean imports and banned the sale of group tour packages in retaliation for Seoul's decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system on its soil.

South Korea and China agreed in late October to put their bilateral relations back on the right track, a move that could increase the number of Chinese tourists to South Korea moving forward.

The primary income account surplus increased to $1.17 billion in October from a surplus of $710 million a year earlier.

Exports rose 7.1 percent on-year to $44.96 billion in October, with imports advancing 7.9 percent to $37.82 billion.

(LEAD) S. Korea's current account surplus dips to US$5.72 bln for Oct. - 1

brk@yna.co.kr
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