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South Korea current account surplus $5.51 billion in August

Staff Writer |
South Korea posted current account surplus at 5.51 billion U.S. in August, keeping a surplus trend for 54 straight months.

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The August current account surplus, however, was down from a surplus of $8.67 billion in July, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Exports, which account for about half of the economy, reduced 3.0 percent from a year earlier to $41.7 billion in August, while imports inched up 0.6 percent to $34.4 billion.

It marked the first time in 23 months that imports rebounded. Trade surplus for goods stood at $7.3 billion in August, down from $10.78 billion in the previous month.

Oil products export tumbled 26.4 percent on a yearly basis, with those for display panels plunging 20.7 percent. Auto exports declined 14.6 percent last month.

Raw material imports shed 5.2 percent, but imports for capital and consumer goods increased 5.9 percent and 7.8 percent respectively.

Services account balance, which measures the flow of travel, transport costs and royalties, logged a deficit of $1.45 billion in August.

Primary income account, which gauges investment and interest income as well as salary, was a surplus of 610 million in August, up from a surplus of 50 million.

Household debts in South Korea posted a double-digit growth in the past three and a half years as Bank of Korea (BOK), the countrys central bank, cut borrowing costs to a record-low level, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

According to data submitted by the BOK to Rep. Yun Ho-jung of the main opposition Minjoo Party, average debts owed by households to lenders amounted to 72.06 million won ($65,280) as of end-June.

It was up 23.8 percent from 58.19 million won tallied at the end of 2012. The average household debt jumped as the BOK cut its benchmark interest rate from 3.25 percent in July 2012 to an all-time low of 1.25 percent in June this year.

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