South Korea's current account surplus grew for a third consecutive month to a nine-month high in July on an increased trade surplus and a narrowing deficit in the service sector, central bank data showed Thursday.
The country's current account surplus came to US$6.95 billion in the month, the highest since October 2018, when the country posted a $9.35 billion surplus, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The country's current account balance has been in the black since April when the country posted a $664 million deficit, its first deficit in seven years.
The July tally also marks an increase from a $6.38 billion surplus posted the month before. From a year earlier, however, the figure marks a 18.7 percent plunge.
In July, the country's goods account surplus came to $6.19 billion, slightly dipping from a $6.27 billion surplus in the previous month.
Exports dipped 10.9 percent on-year to $48.26 billion in July, while imports fell 3 percent to $42.08 billion, according to the BOK.
The service account deficit, on the other hand, narrowed to $1.67 billion from $2.09 billion over the cited period.
The country also posted a $3 billion surplus in the primary income account, the largest in the country's history that also marked a sharp increase from a $1.54 billion surplus in the same month last year.
For the first seven months of the year, the country's current account surplus came to $28.72 billion, down from $37.45 billion over the same period last year.
Its goods account surplus dwindled to $43.25 billion from $63.27 billion over the cited period as exports tumbled 9.9 percent on-year to $326 billion, while imports dipped 5.3 percent to $282.7 billion.
South Korea's exports have been on a steady decline since December, again plunging 13.6 percent on-year to $44.2 billion last month. They are widely expected to continue dropping at least for some time, amid the prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China, the world's largest importers of South Korean products, as well as the country's own trade spat with Japan.
In the January-July period, the deficit in the service account narrowed to $14.02 billion from a $18.89 billion deficit in the same period last year.
Largely helped by a $3 billion surplus in July, the primary income account balance came to a $3.63 billion surplus in the seven-month period ended July 31, marking a sharp turnaround from a $1.37 billion deficit over the same period last year. (Yonhap)