In April, the current account slipped back into deficit for the first time in a month. However, the merchandise balance turned into a surplus for the first time in seven months.
According to the provisional balance of payments statistics released by the BOK on April 9, the current account deficit was recorded at 790 million U.S토토사이트. dollars (about 1 trillion won) in April.
After two consecutive months of deficit for the first time in 11 years (January -4.21 billion, February -520 million), the country posted a surplus in March (160 million), but could not sustain the momentum.
As a result, the current account deficit for the year-to-date through April was $5.37 billion, a year-to-date decline of $20.38 billion compared to the same period last year ($15.01 billion surplus).
Breaking down the current account by item, the goods balance was $580 million in surplus in April. This was the first surplus in seven months since September of last year.
Exports ($49.11 billion) were 16.8% ($9.93 billion) lower than a year earlier. This is the eighth consecutive month of decline since September last year, when exports were lower than the same month a year earlier for the first time in 23 months.
Due to the global economic slowdown, exports of semiconductors (-40.5% based on customs clearance), petroleum products (-27.4%), steel products (-15.7%), and chemical industry products (-12.8%) were particularly weak, and by region, exports to Southeast Asia (-29.1%), China (-26.5%), Japan (-21.1%), and the United States (-4.4%) contracted. However, passenger vehicle exports were up 40.9% from a year earlier.
Imports ($48.53 billion) also fell by 13.2% ($7.38 billion).
In particular, imports of raw materials were 20.5% lower than the same month last year. Of these commodities, petroleum products, crude oil, coal, and gas saw declines of 39.7%, 30.1%, 21.3%, and 15.5%, respectively.
Imports of consumer goods (-6.7%), including home appliances (-18.8%) and grains (-16.8%), and capital goods (-3.4%), including semiconductors (-15.7%), also contracted.
The services balance posted a deficit of $1.21 billion. Over the year, the balance has fallen by $1.59 billion from a $380 million surplus in April last year. However, the deficit was slightly smaller than in March ($1.9 billion).
Specifically, the travel balance continued to be in the red (-$500 million) due to the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions, but the transportation balance reversed its March deficit (-$20 million) and posted a $30 million surplus.
The primary income balance turned to a deficit of $90 million in April from a surplus of $3.65 billion in March. The increase in dividends to foreigners was the largest contributor to the $3.7 billion plunge in the dividend income balance, from a $3.15 billion surplus to a $550 million deficit over the month.