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S Korea's current account switches back to deficit in January
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15:35, February 27, 2009

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South Korea's current account posted a switch to negative territory in January, first in four months, with exports hard struck by global trade contraction, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Friday.

The current account deficit logged 1.36 billion U.S. dollars in January, in contrast with a surplus worth 860.8 million U.S. dollars the previous month, according to a report by the BOK.

South Korea's current account measures good, service, and capital flows into and out of the country, and had been marking a 3-month consecutive surplus since last October.

The BOK attributed January's deficit to a sharp drop in global demand for South Korean goods.

According to the report, the goods balance posted a deficit of 1.46 billion U.S. dollars in January, compared with a 1.5 billion U.S. dollar surplus the previous month, with plunging overseas demand and shorter working days due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

Meanwhile, the service account marked a 708.5 million U.S. dollar deficit in January, recovering from its earlier deficit of 1.52 billion dollars last December, as the local currency's depreciation resulted in a trade-account surplus.

The capital account also posted a net surplus of 4.86 billion U.S. dollars in January, the first net inflow in five months thanks to banks' overseas funding.

Analysts belittled the current account's fall to deficit, pointing to seasonal factors as the main cause since the country usually sees a small current account surplus or a shortfall in the first quarter for seasonal reasons.

South Korea's Knowledge Economy Minister Lee Youn-ho said Thursday that South Korea's trade surplus is to hit 3 billion U.S dollars in February largely due to a sharp drop in imports.

Source: Xinhua

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