South Korea’s January current account surplus came to a five-month low as the deficit in services account hit monthly record-high from a surge in winter vacation trips to overseas, troubles at shippers, and ballooning cost in intellectual property fees.
According to a preliminary balance of payments data released by the Bank of Korea on Friday, the nation’s current account surplus narrowed to $5.28 billion in January from $7.87 billion in December. The record-long surplus streak was nevertheless extended to 59 months.
Exports grew 18.1 percent in January to $44.11 billion won from the same period of last year. Imports jumped 24.5 percent on year to $36.29 billion. Trade data has been in the positive territory for the third month in a row.
Goods account surplus in January slipped to $7.81 billion from $9.43 billion in December to reach the lowest level in five months due to faster growth in imports from a surge in oil prices.
The deficit in service account expanded to $3.36 billion, highest for January and quadrupling from December level. Travel account deficit widened to $1.22 billion in January from $1.02 billion in the previous month as a largest-ever number of people went on overseas travel during the winter holiday season.
The deficit in intellectual property account reached $510 million, largest in 11 months, on a surge in intellectual property rights cost in some of the country’s conglomerates.
Transport account deficit widened to $230 million from $160 million in December as local shipping industry remained in the doldrums after the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping.
By Boo Jang-won
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]