Korea maintained a current account surplus for the 12th consecutive month thanks to increased exports, despite foreign exchange volatility due to currency wars ignited by Japan’s weak yen policy.
The Bank of Korea said Wednesday that the current account, the broadest measure of the country’s foreign trade, recorded a surplus of $2.25 billion in January, with exports reaching $47.1 billion.
This is mostly in part due to increased outbound shipments of telecommunication products, petrochemicals and automobiles ― traditionally Korea’s bestsellers overseas.
High demand for such products from China led to almost a 17 percent increase in Korean exports to the world’s second-largest economy, reaching $11.4 billion last month from $9.8 billion a year earlier.
Exports to the U.S. improved despite the slowdown further beset by fiscal-cliff debates. Korea shipped goods worth $5 billion in January, up more than 21 percent from $4.1 billion a year earlier.
Korea also had brisk exports to Japan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East last month, according to the central bank.
Its services account under the current account in the balance of payments, however, returned to a deficit of $930 million due to weak transportation transactions, which posted only $260 million, down about 68 percent from $810 million in the same period.
Its travel account deficit widened to $1 billion last month, from $750 million in December last year and $810 million a year earlier.
Korea’s capital account had a deficit of $960 million.
By Park Hyong-ki (firstname.lastname@example.org