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Seoul - South Korea posted a current account surplus of $2.25 billion for January on robust exports of mobile devices, autos and petrochemical products, the central bank said Wednesday.

The nation's current account - the broadest measure of its trade with the rest of the world and including investment returns - has been in the black for 12 straight months including a revised $2.14 billion surplus in December.

Exports for January stood at $45.7 billion, up 10.9 percent from a year earlier and compared with $44.9 billion for December. They were bolstered by increased shipments of flagship export goods such as mobile devices and cars.

Overseas shipments of telecommunication devices amounted to $2.85 billion compared with $2.62 billion the previous month, up 20 percent on year.

Exports of petrochemical products rose 11 percent on year to reach $4.92 billion, up from $4.52 billion in December.

Overseas car sales in January stood at $3.9 billion compared with $3.7 billion in December.

Imports for January also rose to $45.2 billion compared with $43 billion in December and $43.5 billion a year ago.

The services account that covers non-goods trade such as travel and other services posted a deficit of $930 million on losses in the transport services industry.

A chronic deficit in the travel account deepened to $1 billion.

For the whole of 2012, Asia's fourth-largest economy posted a record surplus of $43.14 billion, beating the Bank of Korea's forecast of $43 billion.

The central bank has forecast the current-account surplus will fall to $32 billion this year, citing increasing imports of raw materials by South Korean firms trying to meet growing demand. - Sapa-AFP