South Korea’s monthly current account surplus edged down in February from a year earlier amid sluggish exports, central bank data showed on April 4.
The country’s current account surplus came to $3.6 billion in February, down from $3.9 billion a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea. But it rose from the previous month’s $28.2 billion.
The current account has been in the black for 82 straight months since May 2012.
The goods account surplus fell slightly to a nearly five-year low of $5.48 billion in February from $5.57 billion a year earlier due to a drop in exports amid slowing demand for semiconductors and petrochemical goods.
Korea’s exports, the key economic driver, slumped 11.4 percent on-year to $39.44 billion in February, while imports sank 12.6 percent to $36.47 billion.
The services account deficit narrowed to $1.72 billion from a deficit of $2.61 billion a year earlier, marking the smallest loss since December 2016.
The decline came as the number of foreign arrivals jumped 15 percent on-year to 1.2 million in February, including 453,000 Chinese tourists, up 31.3 percent from a year earlier, and 213,000 Japanese visitors, up 26.7 percent.
Korean departures rose 13.3 percent to 2.62 million in February from a year earlier.
In February, the primary income tumbled to $360 million from $1.44 billion a year ago due to an increase in dividend payouts to foreign investors.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)