SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s current account surplus widened in February as exports showed signs of a gradual recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the central bank said Wednesday.
The current account surplus reached US$8.03 billion last month, widening from a surplus of $7.06 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 $6.05 billion in February, larger than a surplus of $5.73 billion the previous month.
Exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, rose 9.5 percent on-year in February to extend their on-year gains for the fourth consecutive month on the back of brisk demand for chips and cars.
Exports came to $44.8 billion in February, compared with $40.9 billion a year earlier.
Imports gained 13.9 percent to $42.1 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.71 billion. It marked the 10th consecutive month for the country to post a trade surplus.
In February, the services account surplus stood at $130 million, compared with a deficit of $610 million the previous month.
The income account posted a $2.12 billion surplus in February, compared with a surplus of $2.36 a month earlier.
For the first two months of this year, South Korea’s current account surplus reached $15.09 billion, compared with a surplus of $6.99 billion during the same period of last year.
A rise in surpluses is likely to cause the Korean currency to go up and could make Korean goods more expensive overseas.
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.