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South Korea posts current account surplus for 31 months

Staff writer ▼ | October 29, 2014
South Korea posted a current account surplus for 31 months in a row due to robust export growth, central bank data showed.
South Korea factory
Going fast and strong   $7.62 billion in September
Current account surplus was $7.62 billion in September, up from a 7.2 billion-dollar surplus in August, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). It marked the 31st consecutive month of surplus.[break]

For the first nine months of this year, the surplus reached 61. 86 billion dollars, up from $55.04 billion dollars tallied in the same period last year.

The BOK had expected the current account surplus to reach $84 billion dollars in the whole year of 2014, topping the previous record high of $79.9 billion dollars tallied in 2013.

Brisk exports led the September surplus. Exports, which account for about half of the economy, grew 4.2 percent from a month earlier to $50.98 billion dollars in September.

On a customs basis, outbound shipments of steel products and ships surged more than 20 percent, leading the export growth. Machinery exports expanded 15.8 percent, but those for consumer electronics and oil products fell 17.6 percent and 3.3 percent each.

Imports increased 4.1 percent to $43.25 billion dollars in the cited period, sending the September trade surplus to $7.73 billion dollars. It was up from a 7.37 billion-dollar surplus in August.

Consumer goods imports rose 23.4 percent, with imports of foreign luxury cars and grain jumping more than 30 percent. Imports of mineral and crude oil declined 11.8 percent and 0.3 percent each.

Despite the solid monthly performance in exports, the third- quarter exports under the GDP data standard slid 2.6 percent compared with the prior quarter, marking the biggest decline since a 4.3 percent fall tallied in the fourth quarter of 2008.