S. Korea's current account deficit pegged at US$ 770 M in Jan.

February 28, 2012 11:30 am 

SEOUL, Feb. 28 — South Korea posted a current account deficit in January for the first time in two years as exports slumped amid the eurozone debt crisis, the central bank said on Tuesday.

The current account deficit reached US$ 770 million last month, shifting from a surplus of $ 2.81 billion the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The figure compares with a surplus of $ 150 million a year earlier, the central bank said. The January figure also marked the first deficit since February 2010, when the country ran a shortfall of $ 549 million. The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

The current account has remained in the black on the back of exports, which account for about 50 percent of Asia's fourth-largest economy.

But a slump in exports and a sharp rise in imports of commodities such as crude oil led to a deficit last month, the central bank said.

South Korea's goods balance posted a deficit of $ 1.42 billion in January, a turnaround from a surplus of $ 1.56 billion a year earlier.

Exports declined 7 percent on-year to $ 41.4 billion with shipments to the eurozone region dropping 37.9 percent on-year. Imports rose 3.3 percent to $ 43.4 billion over the cited period.

The capital and financial account, covering cross-border investments, posted a net inflow of $ 1.22 billion in January, shifting from a net outflow of $ 3.5 billion the previous month, the central bank said.

Eased concerns over the European debt crisis fueled foreign investors' buying of local stocks and bonds last month, the BOK said.(PNA/Yonhap)

FPV/jnc

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