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Korea to edge Japan in current account surplus

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Published : 2013-11-03 19:46
Updated : 2013-11-03 19:46

Korea’s current account surplus is likely to surpass that of Japan for the first time this year.

Korea recorded an account surplus of $42.2 billion in January-August, compared to Japan’s $41.53 billion during the same period, according to the Bank of Korea on Sunday.

By the end of the year, Korea’s surplus is expected to reach $63 billion in total, outperforming its neighbor by almost $2 billion, sources said.

This is the first time that Korea has topped Japan in terms of accumulated account surplus since the data was first collected in 1980.

Also, in September alone, Korea achieved an account surplus of $6.57 billion, marking 20 consecutive months in the black. Last month, it surpassed the $50 billion line in monthly exports for the first time ever.

The rise was largely due to growth in exports of Korean mobile phones and cars, while Japan has been seeing a steady rise in energy imports since the 2011 tsunami-caused earthquake and the resulting radiation leak, sources said.

The disaster not only led in part to a suspension of Japan’s nuclear power facilities but also negatively affected many of its electronics companies, which had formerly led the country’s export sector.

Reflecting such obstacles, Japan’s current account surplus plunged from $203.9 billion in 2010 to $119.6 billion in 2011, and then to $60.4 billion last year, according to Japanese Finance Ministry data.

“Japan’s so-called Abenomics policies, which had cut down on the value of the yen, also cut down on the dollar value of Japan’s current account,” added an official of the BOK.

The current trend, however, also caused concerns that the continuing decline in Japan’s current account surplus may eventually have a negative influence on Korea’s economy.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)

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