SEOUL, July 29 (Xinhua) -- South Korea posted the largest-ever current account surplus in the first half of this year, keeping its monthly surplus trend in June for 28 months in a row, central bank data showed Tuesday.
Current account surplus reached 39.2 billion U.S. dollars for the first six months of this year, topping the previous high of 31. 26 billion dollars tallied in the first half of last year, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The figure was slightly below the BOK's forecast of 40 billion dollars, but this year's current account surplus was forecast to reach the fresh record high of 84 billion dollars due to the expected surplus trend in the second half.
The country posted 7.92 billion dollars in current account surplus for June, keeping its surplus trend for the 28th straight month. It was the longest surplus trend except for the 38th consecutive month of surplus between June 1986 and July 1989.
Solid export growth contributed to the second-longest monthly surplus. Exports, which account for around half of the economy, increased 2.9 percent from a year earlier to 50.28 billion dollars in June.
Imports fell 0.2 percent on year to 43.63 billion dollars in June, sending the trade surplus for goods to 6.65 billion dollars last month. The trade surplus continued to fall after hitting the record monthly high of 10.65 billion dollars in April.
By item, exports of display panels and chips logged a double- digit growth in June on a yearly basis. Shipments of auto parts and steel products increased 8.8 percent and 8.5 percent respectively.
The first-half export expansion was led by chips and telecommunication products, whose exports rose 10 percent and 9.3 percent each. Steel exports expanded 6.9 percent in the first half from a year earlier.
Imports of automobiles and telecommunication devices, including smartphones, surged more than 60 percent in June from a year earlier. Inbound shipments of mining products and natural gas reduced last month due to lower prices.
The service account balance, which measures the flow of travel, transport costs and royalties, posted a deficit of 580 million dollars in June, up from a 340-million-dollar deficit in May.
The primary income account, which includes monthly salaries and investment income, recorded a surplus of 2.23 billion dollars in June, up from a 730-million-dollar surplus in May on the back of an increase in dividend income.
Financial account, which gauges cross-border capital flow without transactions of goods and services, logged an outflow of 9. 84 billion dollars last month, up from an outflow of 8.13 billion dollars a month earlier.
By item, direct investment posted an outflow of 2.06 billion dollars in June, down from an outflow of 3.34 billion dollars in May as foreigners raised investment into local factories and plants.
Portfolio investment, including stock and bond transactions, registered an outflow of 4.22 billion dollars in June, up from an outflow of 3.31 billion dollars in May due to a reduction in foreign investment into local stocks.
Other investment account, including trade credit and foreign debts, logged an inflow of 280 million dollars in June, down from a 3.95-billion-dollar inflow in May as local banks increased lending to foreign players.