South Korea posts record current account surplus over November


SEOUL — South Korea’s current account surplus rose to a monthly record in November as slumping oil prices slashed the value of imports, state data showed Tuesday.

The preliminary figure of US$11.4 billion shattered the previous monthly record of US$11.1 billion set in October 2013, according to data from the central Bank of Korea (BOK).

The current account �X the broadest measure of foreign trade in goods and services �X has been in the black for two years and nine months �X the longest streak of surplus since 1989.

Exports, which account for more than a half of the Asia’s fourth-largest economy, stood at US$50.2 billion, down from US$52 billion in October.

Imports dropped to US$40 billion from US$43.5 billion thanks to falling oil prices, logging a surplus of US$10.2 billion in the goods account.

The South imports almost all of its energy needs from overseas.

The services account, which includes spending on overseas trips and loyalty payments, saw its chronic deficit narrow down to US$200 million from US$250 million a month ago.

The income account, which tracks wages as well as earnings on financial investments, posted a surplus of US$1.7 billion thanks to increased dividend and interest earnings.

The figure compared to a surplus of US$970 million in October.

The country has racked up a current account surplus of US$81.9 billion so far this year.

It is on course to meet or exceed the central bank’s target surplus of US$84 billion in 2014 �X an annual record.

The BOK however estimated earlier the current account surplus for next year would slump to US$70 million. Industrial Output Rises 1.3% in November South Korea’s industrial output rose 1.3 percent in November from a month earlier thanks to increased auto and memory chip production, state data showed Tuesday. The rise in production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries compared with a revised fall of 1.7 percent in October, state-run Statistics Korea said.

Output in manufacturing alone rose 1.4 percent from a month ago, bolstered by production of cars and semiconductors that rose by 9 and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Production in the service sector however shrank 0.3 percent on month, after inching up 0.8 percent in October and 0.3 percent in September.