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S. Korea's service payments dip for 11th month in Nov. amid pandemic

This undated file photo shows a deserted check-in counter at a local airport. (Yonhap)
This undated file photo shows a deserted check-in counter at a local airport. (Yonhap)
South Korea's payments for foreign service imports fell for the 11th consecutive month in November last year amid pandemic-induced travel restrictions, central bank data showed Tuesday.

Asia's fourth-largest economy paid $8.59 billion for imports of foreign services in November, down 18.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the data by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

South Korea's service payments have been declining on-year since January last year, when the country reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

It was close to the 13 straight months of on-year decline recorded between September 1997 and October 1998 in the wake of the country's foreign exchange crisis.

The central bank attributed the recent downtrend to a decrease in payments for travel and transport services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a desperate bid to stem the spread of the flu-like disease, many countries imposed lockdowns and travel restrictions, having a far-reaching impact on the global economy.

The BOK has yet to announce last month's tally, but South Korea's service payments are widely estimated to have kept declining in December amid a new wave of coronavirus infections at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, the country's service account, which includes outlays by South Koreans on overseas trips, posted a deficit of $720 million in November, compared with a $1.89 billion shortfall a year earlier, according to the BOK data. (Yonhap)