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(LEAD) S. Korea's current account surplus hits 3-year high in October on export recovery

All News 08:47 December 04, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details in last 5 paras)

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's current account surplus hit a three-year high in October as exports showed signs of a modest recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic, the central bank said Friday.

The current account surplus reached US$11.66 billion in October, widening from a surplus of $10.13 billion the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

It marked the largest surplus since September 2017.

Since the country logged a deficit of $3.33 billion in April, the largest in almost a decade, on faltering exports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the current account has stayed in the black for six straight months.

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 logged a surplus of $10.15 billion in October, larger than a surplus of $8.03 billion the previous month.

Exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, rose 8 percent on-year to $49.85 billion in September, while imports inched up 1 percent to $37.83 billion.

Exports fell 3.8 percent on-year in October mainly due to fewer working days.

The country's overseas shipments have been 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 and easing border lockdowns.

In October, the service account, which includes outlays by South Koreans on overseas trips, logged a deficit of $660 million after suffering a shortfall of $1.72 billion in September.

A combined deficit of the service account narrowed in the January-October period from a year earlier as the pandemic disrupted demand for foreign travel.

The primary income account, which tracks wages of foreign workers and dividend payments overseas, logged a surplus of $2.45 billion in October, compared with a surplus of $1.83 billion the previous month.

The capital and financial account, which covers cross-border investments, posted a net inflow of $15.94 billion in October, compared with a net inflow of $8.91 billion the previous month.

In the first 10 months of this year, South Korea posted a current account surplus of $54.97 billion, according to the BOK.


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