South Korea’s monthly current account surplus narrowed in March from a year earlier amid slowing exports, central bank data showed May 8.
The country’s current account surplus came to $4.8 billion in March, down from $5.1 billion a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea. But the surplus widened from the previous month’s $3.6 billion.
The current account has been in the black for 83 straight months.
In the first three months of this year, the country’s current account surplus stood at $11.2 billion, marking the smallest surplus on a quarterly basis since the second quarter of 2012, the data showed.
The country’s outbound shipments fell 3.9 percent on-year to $137.5 billion in the January-March period, marking the first quarterly decline in exports since the third quarter of 2016.
Korea’s exports also fell 2 percent in April from a year earlier, extending their on-year fall for the fifth consecutive month due to a drawn-out slump in chips and weak demand from China.
The goods account surplus fell to $8.4 billion in March from $9.4 billion a year earlier due to a drop in exports amid slowing demand for semiconductors and petrochemical goods.
The BOK attributed a decline in the goods account to a fall in world trade volumes, weaker chip prices and China’s economic slowdown.
The services account deficit slightly widened to $2.3 billion from a deficit of $2.2 billion a year earlier.
“Despite a steady rise in the travel account, the services account deficit widened due to a deficit in the intellectual property account,” the BOK said.
The primary income account deficit narrowed to $740 million in March from $1.3 billion a year ago, in line with a decrease in the payment of dividends, the BOK said.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (email@example.com)