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Korea’s Current-Account Surplus Narrows to $5.8 Billion

South Korea’s current-account surplus narrowed to a two-month low after imports of machinery and equipment increased.

The surplus was $5.8 billion last month, compared with a revised excess of $5.9 billion in September, the Bank of Korea said in a statement in Seoul today. The current account is the broadest measure of trade, tracking goods, services and investment income.

South Korean officials announced measures yesterday to tighten limits on banks’ currency forward positions as gains in the won threaten to curtail a rebound in exports. The nation’s current-account surplus will help support further appreciation of the currency, said Wai Ho Leong, a Singapore-based economist at Barclays Plc.

“The latest regulation is seen as more of a speed bump, not a road block,” Leong said before the data was released. Barclays forecasts the currency will reach 1,050 won per dollar within 12 months, he said.

The won, Asia’s best performing currency in the second half of the year, strengthened 0.1 percent to 1,084.08 per dollar at the close yesterday in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It reached 1,080.05 on Nov. 22, the highest level since Sept. 9, 2011. The Kospi (KOSPI) index of stocks climbed 0.9 percent yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eunkyung Seo in Seoul at eseo3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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