SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's current account surplus fell to 6.77 billion U.S. dollars last month due to a travel account deficit during the summer vacation season, but the balance kept a surplus for 18 straight months amid continued export growth, central bank data showed Thursday.
Current account surplus was 6.77 billion dollars in July after recording a 7.24 billion dollar surplus in the previous month, according to Bank of Korea (BOK).
The July fall came due to the travel account deficit caused by growing overseas trips during the summer vacation season, but the current balance, the broadest measure of cross-border trade, stayed in the black for 18 straight months thanks to the persistent export growth
Exports, which account for more than half of the South Korean economy, increased 3.8 percent from a year earlier to 48.39 billion dollars in July. Imports rose 3.5 percent to 42.71 billion dollars in July, sending the trade surplus to 5.68 billion dollars.
Demand for locally-made ships, chips and telecommunication devices such as smartphones increased last month, offsetting a fall in exports of display panels, steel products and petroleum products.
Surplus in the service account, which measures the flow of travel, transport costs and royalties, narrowed to 360 million dollars in July from 1.18 billion dollars in the prior month.
Travel account deficit rose to 840 million dollars in July due to rising overseas trips during the summer vacation season after posting a deficit of 400 million dollars in the previous month. Transport account surplus fell from 930 million dollars in June to 430 million dollars in July.
Primary income account, which includes monthly salaries and investment income, posted a surplus of 780 million dollars in July, down from a 9.6 million dollar surplus in the previous month. The reduction came due to a fall in dividend income.
Financial account, which gauges cross-border investment, registered an outflow of 7.33 billion dollars in July after logging an outflow of 4.9 billion dollars in the prior month.
Direct investment posted an outflow of 980 million dollars last month after logging a 1.38 billion dollar outflow a month earlier due to a reduction in overseas investment by local residents.
Portfolio investment, including stock and bond transactions, shifted to an inflow of 1.85 billion dollars in July from an outflow of 5.29 billion dollars in the prior month after foreign investors turned into net buyers in the local stock market.
Net outflow in other investment account, including trade credit and foreign debts, widened to 6.65 billion dollars in July from 1. 47 billion dollars in June as financial institutions repaid foreign debts.