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South Korea current account surplus grows in September

[SEOUL] South Korea's current account surplus widened to US$7.6 billion in September as exports grew and spending by Korean travellers overseas fell, state data showed Wednesday.

The preliminary figure compared with a revised surplus of US$7.2 billion in August, the central Bank of Korea said.

The current account - the broadest measure of foreign trade in goods and services - has been in the black for 31 months in a row.

Exports last month stood at US$51 billion, compared to US$48.9 billion a month ago and US$50.6 a year ago, thanks to increased shipments of memory chips and steel, the BOK said.

Imports rose to US$43.3 billion, up from US$41.6 billion a month ago and US$42 billion a year ago.

The services account, which includes spending on overseas trips, reported a deficit of $280 million, compared to US$730 million in August and US$200 million a year ago.

The central bank forecasts South Korea - Asia's fourth-largest economy - will post a record current account surplus of US$84 billion this year.