Seoul keeps longest current account surplus for 45 months

Seoul, Jan 5 (IANS) South Korea’s economy posted the longest current account surplus for 45 months in a row due to faster fall in imports than exports, keeping a so-called recession-type surplus trend, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

Current account surplus reached $9.40 billion in November, up from a surplus of $9.12 billion in October, Xinhua cited the Bank of Korea (BOK) data. It marked the longest surplus for 45 straight months since March 2012.

During the January-November period, the surplus amounted to $97. 99 billion, boosting expectations to top $100 billion for the whole year of 2015.

The longest surplus trend came from faster reduction in imports than exports. The import decline was attributable to lower oil prices and slowing facility investment, which may lead to the weakening of corporate competitiveness.

Trade surplus for goods amounted to $9.98 billion in November, down from $10.61 billion in the prior month.

For the first 11 months of 2015, the trade surplus came to $109.12 billion, exceeding $100 billion for the first time in the country’s history. The previous yearly high was $88.88 billion tallied in 2014.

Exports of ships and telecommunication devices, including smartphones, jumped 135.5 percent and 17.4 percent each in November from a year earlier, but those for oil products tumbled 36.5 percent amid lower crude prices.

Deficit in the service account balance, which measures the flow of travel, transport costs and royalties, narrowed down to $1.28 billion in November from $1.7 billion in October.

Other investment income, including trade credit and foreign debts, registered an outflow of $1.66 billion in November from an inflow of $0.93 billion in October owing to financial institutions repaying foreign debts.

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