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South Korea January Current Account Surplus Hits Record

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013 | 10:14 PM ET
Seoul, South Korea
SJ. Kim | Flickr | Getty Images
Seoul, South Korea

South Korea's seasonally adjusted current account surplus in January more than doubled to a record high on a jump in exports that showed Asia's fourth-largest economy had not yet been affected by Japan's expansionary monetary policy.

Data from the Bank of Korea showed the current account in January stood at $6.52 billion from a revised $3.00 billion surplus in December, which was the highest since the central bank started keeping records from January 1980.

January exports shot up by a seasonally adjusted 7.2 percent to $49.75 billion from December while imports fell 2.9 percent to $43.03 billion, producing a $6.73 billion surplus in the goods trade account, Bank of Korea data showed.

The sharp rise in exports was attributed to healthy demand for South Korea's telecommunications and petroleum products, the central bank said, and partly due to revisions to the Bank of Korea's calculating methods to improve accuracy.

Policymakers have said they have yet to see the effects of ultra-loose monetary policies of some advanced countries such as the U.S. and Japan, although they have continuously voiced concern over the policies shaking up the Korean won.

(Read More: Will the Bank of Korea Join the Global Easing Campaign?)

Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-soo said on Tuesday that the yen's fall posed as a downside risk to the economy while South Korea's new president, Park Geun-hye said last week that her administration will take pre-emptive and effective steps to stabilise the won.

The local currency gained nearly 23 percent against the Japanese yen last year, and it is up another roughly 4 percent this year due to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempt at giving his economy a shock boost.

Meanwhile in the financial account, Asia's fourth-largest economy saw a net outflow of $0.96 billion in January without being adjusted for seasonal patterns, compared to a revised net outflow of $3.94 billion seen in December, as foreigners were seen dumping South Korean stocks.

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