South Korea’s goods account surplus hit a 55-month low in February this year, led by sluggish exports of major items and a decrease in exports to China. However, the country’s current account surplus increased from a month earlier based on service account improvement.
The Bank of Korea announced on April 4 that the current account surplus increased from US$2.82 billion to US$3.6 billion in February and the country posted a current account surplus for the 82nd consecutive month.
Still, the goods account surplus decreased to US$5.48 billion, the lowest level since July 2014, with the monthly exports showing a year-on-year decline of 10.8 percent to US$40.13 billion. The rate of decrease is the highest since April 2016. The monthly imports added up to US$34.65 billion with a year-on-year decrease of 12.1 percent, the highest since July 2016.
“The unit import price of crude oil fell, leading to a decrease in value and an increase in amount,” the Bank of Korea explained, adding, “The decrease in imports has to do with lower oil prices and the base effect of the large-scale investment in semiconductor manufacturing facilities that was made in 2017 and 2018.”
South Korea’s service account deficit was US$1.72 billion in February, the smallest since December 2016. The tourism account deficit fell from US$1.86 billion to US$1.14 billion that month, when the number of inbound Japanese and Chinese tourists increased.