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S. Korea suffers current account deficit in April, first in 7 years

All Headlines 08:00 June 05, 2019

By Byun Duk-kun

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's current account balance remained in the red in April, the first deficit in seven years caused by flagging exports and increased dividend transfers, the central bank said Wednesday.

The country's current account deficit came to US$660 million in the month, marking a sharp turnaround from a $4.82 billion surplus a month before, according to the Bank of Korea. The country's current account balance had been in the black for 83 consecutive months.

The current account is the biggest measure of cross-border trade.

The current account deficit in April had widely been expected as the country's trade surplus narrowed to $5.67 billion in the month, compared with a $8.47 billion surplus in the month before and a $9.62 billion surplus the same month last year.

Seoul's exports have been on the decline since December amid the escalating trade tension between the world's two largest economies -- the United States and China. Shipments to China, the world's single largest importer of South Korean products, have also been on the wane since November.

The current account deficit was also attributed to what the central bank called a seasonal increase in dividend payments overseas, which climbed to $6.78 billion in April, the second highest in the country's history.

The country posted a dividend account deficit of $4.99 billion in April, compared with a $1.33 billion deficit in the previous month, according to the BOK.

Its chronic deficit in the service account narrowed to $1.43 billion in April from $2.34 billion the month before, while its primary income account deficit widened from $1.33 billion to $4.99 billion over the same period, the central bank said.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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