FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Bank of Korea is seen in Seoul, South Korea, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s current account logged a record deficit in January, central bank data showed on Friday, as exports of goods slumped and overseas travel increased.
The country’s current account balance logged a deficit of $4.52 billion in January, after a $2.68 billion surplus in December, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). It was the biggest monthly deficit since the data series started in 1980.
The balances of goods and services each posted a deficit of $7.46 billion and $3.27 billion, with a drop in exports and jump in travel outflows, although the surplus in primary income widened to $6.48 billion.
Data out earlier this month showed the country’s trade deficit more than halved to $5.30 billion in February from a record $12.65 billion in January, suggesting an improvement in the current account.
Vice Finance Minister Bang Ki-sun said after the data release that the government would continue efforts to improve exports and seek ways to boost domestic travel, while citing dividend payouts as a factor to cause volatility in the account in the first half of 2023.
The BOK expects the current account to log a $26 billion surplus in 2023, narrower than $29.83 billion in 2022.
(This story has been corrected to say 2023, instead of 2022, in paragraph 5)