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Korea's Current Account Surplus Widens in Feb.

According to Yonhap News,

(SEOUL = Yonhap News) South Korea's current account surplus widened in February from the previous month as trade gains increased and the service account deficit fell, the central bank said Monday.

The current account surplus reached US$4.52 billion in February, up from $3.29 billion in January, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

The current account was in the black for the 24th straight month in February, providing a buffer for Korea as the U.S. Federal Reserve has been tapering its quantitative easing.

All of the current account data was revised in accordance with a new standard for gauging the current account.

The 2013 surplus widened to a record $79.88 billion, accounting for 6.1 percent of gross domestic product. The BOK forecast the 2014 surplus will hit $55 billion.

The central bank downplayed some concerns that the surplus pattern may reflect economic slowdown as imports are weak due to sluggish domestic demand.

"There are views that weak domestic demand cut back imports. But in terms of volumes, imports are not bad," Jung Young-taek, director general of the BOK's economic statistics division, told reporters.

The balance of Korea's goods posted a surplus of $5.43 billion in February, larger than a revised $4.37 billion in January.

In February, overseas shipments rose 7.3 percent on-year to $48.03 billion, and imports increased 1.3 percent to $42.6 billion.

The service account, which includes outlays by South Koreans on overseas trips, posted a shortfall of $1.06 billion last month, compared with a shortfall of a revised $1.91 billion in January.

The primary income account, which tracks wages of foreign workers and dividend payments overseas, logged a surplus of $371.8 million in February, down from a surplus of a revised $1.21 billion in January.

The capital and financial account, which covers cross-border investments, posted a net outflow of $6.92 billion in February, compared with a net outflow of $4.48 billion in January, the BOK said.

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Source Text

Source: Yonhap News (Mar. 31, 2014)
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