Current account surplus hits $8.44 bil.

Settings

ⓕ font-size

  • -2
  • -1
  • 0
  • +1
  • +2

Current account surplus hits $8.44 bil.

By Lee Kyung-min

Korea's monthly current account surplus reached $8.44 billion (9.5 trillion won) in August on the back of solid exports of semiconductors, the Bank of Korea said, Thursday.

This marks the 78th consecutive month of surpluses, the longest streak since March 2012. The August figure was slightly down from the annual high of $8.76 billion last month.

The central bank said the performance was thanks to strong sales of semiconductor goods abroad amid a strong recovery in global trade.

The goods account surplus jumped to $11.24 billion in August from the previous month's $9.18 billion.

Export logged $53.2 billion, an 11.7 percent increase from a year earlier, on the back of continued global demand for semiconductors, and a higher profit margin on petrochemical products amid an oil price hike.

Imports, on the other hand, recorded 42 billion won, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier.

Despite the brisk external shipments, experts expressed caution against a heavy reliance on key export items.

"Korea has an export-driven economy, most of which relies on semiconductor and petrochemical sales," said Lee Chae-woong, emeritus professor of economics at Sungkyunkwan University.

"It is better to see a surplus than a deficit, but the country needs a plan B, a viable alternative to a possible scenario under which global demand shrinks for the country's key export items. Portfolio diversification should focus on exploring new markets or producing new goods and services."

The services account posted a $2.11 billion deficit, slightly down from $2.33 billion a year ago. The figure was the smallest since May 2018.

The travel account deficit increased to $1.54 billion in August from $1.41 billion as the number of inbound travelers, mostly from China and Japan, outnumbered that of Koreans traveling abroad.

Korean tourists' overseas spending in August was the second-largest after $3.24 billion in January.

In August, Koreans' direct overseas investment and foreigners' direct investment in Korea rose $5.57 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively.

In portfolio investment, Koreans increased their overseas investments by $7.17 billion, while foreigners raised their investments $5.68 billion due to a rise on bond ownership.



By Lee Kyung-min

Korea's monthly current account surplus reached $8.44 billion (9.5 trillion won) in August on the back of solid exports of semiconductors, the Bank of Korea said, Thursday.

This marks the 78th consecutive month of surpluses, the longest streak since March 2012. The August figure was slightly down from the annual high of $8.76 billion last month.

The central bank said the performance was thanks to strong sales of semiconductor goods abroad amid a strong recovery in global trade.

The goods account surplus jumped to $11.24 billion in August from the previous month's $9.18 billion.

Export logged $53.2 billion, an 11.7 percent increase from a year earlier, on the back of continued global demand for semiconductors, and a higher profit margin on petrochemical products amid an oil price hike.

Imports, on the other hand, recorded 42 billion won, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier.

Despite the brisk external shipments, experts expressed caution against a heavy reliance on key export items.

"Korea has an export-driven economy, most of which relies on semiconductor and petrochemical sales," said Lee Chae-woong, emeritus professor of economics at Sungkyunkwan University.

"It is better to see a surplus than a deficit, but the country needs a plan B, a viable alternative to a possible scenario under which global demand shrinks for the country's key export items. Portfolio diversification should focus on exploring new markets or producing new goods and services."

The services account posted a $2.11 billion deficit, slightly down from $2.33 billion a year ago. The figure was the smallest since May 2018.

The travel account deficit increased to $1.54 billion in August from $1.41 billion as the number of inbound travelers, mostly from China and Japan, outnumbered that of Koreans traveling abroad.

Korean tourists' overseas spending in August was the second-largest after $3.24 billion in January.

In August, Koreans' direct overseas investment and foreigners' direct investment in Korea rose $5.57 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively.

In portfolio investment, Koreans increased their overseas investments by $7.17 billion, while foreigners raised their investments $5.68 billion due to a rise on bond ownership.



Lee Kyung-min lkm@koreatimes.co.kr


LETTER

Sign up for eNewsletter