South Korea’s goods account surplus added up to US$8.84 billion in September this year, much lower than US$13.01 billion recorded a year ago. Although South Korea’s current account surplus hit an 11-month high that month, its current account surplus for the first three quarters of this year reached the lowest level since 2012 due to a decrease in exports.
The Bank of Korea announced on Nov. 6 that South Korea posted a current account surplus of US$7.48 billion in September. For reference, the surplus fell by US$3.54 billion from the same month of the previous year and fell year on year for the eighth consecutive month. The previous high is US$9.35 billion in October 2018.
For the first three quarters of this year, the current account surplus totaled US$41.46 billion with a year-on-year decline of more than US$15.5 billion. The figure is the lowest since US$26.13 billion of the same period of 2012. The rapid decline is because of sluggish exports that led to a significant decrease in goods account surplus.
In September, the service account deficit of South Korea increased by approximately US$30 million year on year to US$2.51 billion. The travel account deficit decreased from US$1.15 billion to US$780 million but the transport account surplus fell to negative US$320 million.
The decrease in travel account deficit is because the number of people who departed from South Korea decreased 7.9 percent whereas that of those who entered the country rose 14.2 percent. Specifically, the numbers of those who entered South Korea from China and Japan rose 24.6 percent and 1.3 percent from a year earlier, respectively. On the other hand, that of South Koreans visiting Japan dropped by 58.1 percent compared to September 2018.