S. Korea current account surplus hits 8-month high

Friday, 29 July 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SEOUL (AFP): South Korea’s current account surplus reached an eight-month high in June, the central bank said Thursday, with exports hitting a record despite global economic uncertainty and a strong won.

The surplus -- the broadest measure of trade with the world -- was $2.99 billion in June compared to a revised $2.18 billion the previous month, the Bank of Korea said.

The surplus amounted to $9.06 billion for the first half and the central bank said it was on track to reach the full-year target of $15.5 billion.

The bank said a similar surplus was expected in July.

Kim Young-Bae, head of its economic statistics division, said key export items like cars and ships saw robust growth, compensating for slower export growth of tech products due to recent falls in chip and flat panel prices.

“The competitiveness of Korea’s exports remained solid,” Kim said, declining to comment on the impact of the won’s rise. The local currency has strengthened some eight percent against the dollar this year.

“Japan has yet to recover from the (March 11) earthquake. Korea’s exports will likely remain solid in the second half,” Kim said.

The goods balance saw a surplus of $3.66 billion in June, up from a revised $1.63 billion in May. Exports rose 21.3 percent year-on-year to a record monthly high of $48.7 billion and imports grew 27.6 percent to $45 billion.

The service account, which includes spending by South Koreans on overseas trips, recorded a shortfall of $632.4 million last month compared to a surplus of $15.5 million in May.

The primary income account, which registers wages for foreign workers and dividend payments overseas, saw a surplus of $239.8 million in June compared with a surplus of $517.3 million the previous month.

The capital and financial account, covering cross-border investments, posted a net outflow of $4.64 billion in June compared with a net outflow of a revised $3.96 billion in May.