Korea’s current account surplus hit a record high last month thanks to a positive trend in exports of autos, mobile devices, and semiconductors.
According to data on the Balance of International Payment in October released by the Bank of Korea (BOK) on November 28, Korea’s current account surplus recorded US$9.51 billion last month, marking the 20th straight month of surplus since February of last year.
The October figure for current account balance is the highest ever since January 1980, exceeding the prior record in May 2013 of US$8.64 billion. Month-over-month, the number increased by US$2.97 billion from the previous month (US$6.54 billion), and up US$3.16 billion from a year ago (US$6.35 billion). The combined surplus in January-October this year reached US$58.26 billion, up 34% during the same period last year (US$38.2 billion).
The surplus on trade in goods recorded US$7.03 billion in October, a US$1.36 billion gain compared to a month earlier (US$5.67 billion), and a year-on-year increase of US$1.56 billion. The upward trend is due to the fact that a year-on-year increase of 8.2% in exports is bigger than a 5.6% year-on-year growth in imports.
Among export items, the auto industry posted 19.8% growth, mobile devices 22.4%, and semiconductors 13.5%, respectively, compared to the same month last year.
The surplus on trade in services also almost doubled in 2 months, from US$870 million in September to US$1.65 billion in October, helped by an improvement in the balance of trade in construction and business services. A BOK official said, “If the trend continues, an estimated current account surplus of US$63 billion will be easily achieved this year.”