South Korea reports record current account surplus of US$43.2 bil in ’12


SEOUL — South Korea’s current account surplus rose to a record US$43.2 billion in 2012 on growing overseas construction orders and exports that remained relatively solid despite a global slowdown.

The surplus, the broadest measure of the country’s trade with the rest of the world and including investment returns, smashed a previous record of US$32.7 set in 2009, the Bank of Korea said Wednesday.

However, it predicted the annual surplus would fall to US$32 billion in 2013, citing lingering weakness in the eurozone and a slow recovery in the United States. Exports stood at US$552.7 billion, up 0.2 percent from 2011, while imports fell 1.1 percent to US$514.2 billion.

Overseas shipments of cars rose 3.6 percent to US$42.4 billion despite sagging global demand, and shipments of petrochemical products climbed 9.0 percent to US$56.7 billion.

Shipments of technology products remained nearly unchanged at US$156 billion, with overseas sales of memory chips up 0.1 percent and display panels down 0.3 percent from a year earlier.