South Korea’s current account surplus extended its surplus for 21 years straight in 2018, on the back of improved service accounts and record-high exports, central bank data showed Friday.
The monthly figure for December, however, hit an eight-month low amid falling prices of semiconductors and the consequent blow on exports.
The country’s current account surplus for 2018 stood at $76.41 billion, up $1.18 billion from a year earlier and marking the 21st consecutive year in the black since 1998, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea.
The goods account surplus stood at $111.87 billion, marking the lowest since 2014. Exports hit a record-high at $625.44 billion amid expanded global trade volume and semiconductor sales boom throughout the year, but imports also took an uptrend due to the increased oil prices, BOK officials explained.
The deficit in the service accounts was observed at $29.74 billion, down from $36.73 billion a year earlier. In 2017, Seoul had faced its worst-ever deficit in travel accounts in the wake of its conflict with Beijing over the US missile defense system to be deployed here.
The monthly surplus for December came to $4.82 billion, which marked the 80th consecutive month of the balance remaining in the black, but also showed the smallest monthly surplus since April, when it had hit a six-year low of $1.7 billion.
“We have seen a decrease in outbound shipments of semiconductors over recent months,” said the BOK.
By Bae Hyunjung (email@example.com