SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s current account surplus sharply narrowed in April as higher oil prices increased the country’s import bill, the central bank said Tuesday.

The current account surplus reached US$1.91 billion in April, narrowing from a surplus of $7.82 billion the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

Since the country logged a deficit of $3.33 billion in April last year, the largest in almost a decade, on faltering exports amid the pandemic, the current account has stayed in the black.

The goods balance logged a surplus of $4.56 billion in April, smaller than a surplus of $7.92 billion the previous month.

Exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, jumped 41.1 percent on-year in April on the back of brisk demand for chips and cars.

Outbound shipment came to $51.1 billion in April, compared with $36.2 billion a year earlier.

Imports gained 33.9 percent to $50.8 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $390 million. It marked the 12th consecutive month for the country to post a trade surplus.

The country’s overseas shipments have been battered by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the pace of the slump has eased since June last year as major economies slowly began resuming business activities and easing border lockdowns.