South Korea saw a record current account surplus in March, the Bank of Korea said on Wednesday, coming in at $6.65 billion. That follows the 3.56 billion surplus in February.
The goods account surplus was 6.98 billon dollars, an increase of 3.87 billion dollars from February's 3.11 billion dollars. The annual rate of decrease of imports accelerated, while that of exports narrowed compared to the previous month.
The services account deficit stood at 0.65 billion dollars, up from 0.53 billion dollars a month earlier. Among the component account the travel account surplus narrowed, the data showed, while the other service account deficit widened as did transport account surplus.
The income account shifted to a deficit of 0.22 billion dollars from a surplus of 0.48 billion, due to seasonal factors including external dividend payments by corporations whose fiscal year ends in December.
The current transfers account continued to show a surplus, the bank said, standing at 0.53 billion dollars versus the previous month's 0.50 billion dollars. The current account registered a surplus of 8.58 billion dollars during the January to March period.
The capital and financial account in March registered a net outflow of 2.18 billion dollars, down from February's 2.98 billion dollars.
The direct investment account showed a net outflow of 0.59 billion dollars, up slightly from February's 0.55 billion dollars as inward foreign direct investment shifted to a net outflow even though outward foreign direct investment decreased significantly, the bank said.
The portfolio investment account shifted from the previous month's net inflow of 0.16 billion dollars to a net outflow of 1.49 billion dollars. The net outflow of foreigners' South Korean bond investment increased significantly due to a net redemption at maturity of bonds issued overseas, whereas Korean residents' overseas portfolio investment turned to a net outflow. Foreign investors changed to a net domestic stock purchase position.
The financial derivatives account registered a net outflow of 2.32 billion dollars, the data showed, holding steady from the previous month.
The other investment account shifted from February's net outflow of 0.61 billion dollars to a net inflow of 1.99 billion dollars due to a significant decrease of domestic banks' overseas deposit assets. The capital and financial account recorded a net outflow of 0.01 billion dollars during the January to March period, the bank said. Reserve assets in March increased by 3.27 billion dollars.
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