South Korea’s tourism account deficit reached the lowest level in 23 months as more tourists visited South Korea from China and Japan. In the meantime, the country posted a current account surplus for the 80th consecutive month.
According to the Bank of Korea, the tourism account deficit totaled US$950 million in October this year. It is the lowest since November 2016, when the deficit was US$750 million. In October 2018, the numbers of inbound tourists from China and Japan increased 37.6% and 61.7% year on year to 475,000 and 290,000, respectively. Tourist arrivals increased year on year for the eighth consecutive month and the tourism revenue totaled US$1.54 billion, the highest level since May 2016.
In October, South Korea’s service account deficit fell to US$2.22 billion, led by the tourism sector performance. For reference, the service account deficit was US$2.52 billion in September 2018 and US$3.53 billion in October 2017.
In the meantime, South Korea’s monthly exports totaled US$57.24 billion in October, up 28.8% from a year ago. This was led by petroleum product and machinery exports and led to a record-high goods account surplus of US$11 billion.
The primary income account surplus added up to US$960 million whereas the secondary income account showed a deficit of US$540 million. The net wealth, overseas investment from South Korea, and foreign investment in the country increased US$10.59 billion, US$4.32 billion and US$960 million, respectively.
The overall current account surplus was US$9.19 billion, and the country remained in the black for 80 months in a row. For reference, its current account surplus was US$10.83 billion in September this year and US$5.72 billion in October last year.