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S. Korea posts 1st current account deficit in 2 yrs in April amid high commodity costs, dividend payments

Economy 08:07 June 10, 2022

SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea posted its first current account deficit in two years in April as soaring energy and commodity prices pushed up import bills and overseas dividend payments expanded, central bank data showed Friday.

The country's current account shortfall came to US$80 million in April, compared with a surplus of $180 million registered a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

This marked the first current account deficit since April 2020, when the country logged a deficit of $4.02 billion. It also turned around from a surplus of $7.06 billion in the previous month.

The April deficit came as the country's import bills mounted at a faster pace than money earned from exports amid soaring energy and major commodity prices caused by global supply chain disruptions and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Exports amounted to $58.93 billion in April, up 11.2 percent from a year earlier, while imports expanded 16.5 percent to $55.98 billion over the cited period.

As a result, the goods balance posted a surplus of $2.95 billion in the month, down from the previous year's surplus of $4.95 billion, the data showed.

Also contributing to the deficit was expanded overseas dividend payments, whose balance stood at a shortfall of $3.82 billion in April. Including the dividend payments, the primary income account posted a deficit of $3.25 billion, according to the data.

Meanwhile, the service account, which includes outlays by South Koreans on overseas trips and transport earnings, logged a surplus of $570 million in April thanks in part to high freight rates. It marked a turnaround from a deficit of $130 million a year before.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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