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S. Korea logs current account surplus for 4th month in Aug.

Economy 08:00 October 08, 2020

By Kim Soo-yeon

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea posted a current account surplus for the fourth straight month in August as exports declined at a slower pace than imports amid major economies' reopenings after the pandemic-caused lockdowns, the central bank said Thursday.

The current account surplus reached US$6.57 billion in August, down from $7.45 billion the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

The current account has been in the black since the country logged a deficit of $3.33 billion in April, the largest in almost a decade on faltering exports amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

This file photo, taken June 4, 2020, shows stacks of import-export cargo containers at South Korea's largest seaport in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The goods balance posted a surplus of $7.01 billion in August, larger than a surplus of $6.97 billion the previous month.

The surplus in the goods balance widened to a nine-month high in August as exports fell at a slower pace than imports, the BOK said.

Exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, fell 10.1 percent on-year to $39.6 billion in August, while imports declined by a wider margin of 15.8 percent to $35.7 billion on low oil prices.

The country's overseas shipments were battered by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic this year. But the pace of the slump has eased since June as major economies slowly began resuming business activities following lockdowns.

The service account, which includes outlays by South Koreans on overseas trips, logged a deficit of $800 million in August after logging a shortfall of $1.11 billion in July.

The primary income account, which tracks wages of foreign workers and dividend payments overseas, logged a surplus of $630 million in August, smaller than a surplus of $1.95 billion in July.

The capital and financial account, which covers cross-border investments, posted a net inflow of $4.84 billion in August, compared with a net inflow of $9.59 billion the previous month.

In late August, the BOK lowered its 2020 outlook for the current account surplus, citing sluggish global trade amid the virus outbreak.

The surplus is forecast to reach $54 billion this year, smaller than its previous estimate of $57 billion. The 2021 surplus is likely to reach $55 billion, it added.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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