The nation's current account surplus narrowed in the first quarter to US$8.66 billion from a revised US$9.39 billion a year earlier and US$11.2 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, the central bank said yesterday.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of eight economists was for a US$5.7 billion surplus in the first three months of the year.
The current account is the broadest gauge of international trade and measures the flow of goods, services and investment income across borders.
The nation’s goods surplus declined to US$4.48 billion in the first quarter from a revised US$7.34 billion a year earlier.
The surplus on the income account, which includes dividend payments, widened to US$5.11 billion from US$3.96 billion.
The deficit on the services account, which includes travel spending, shrank to US$49 million from a revised US$1.02 billion.
The financial account, which measures investment flows, swung to a surplus of US$385 million.
This compares to a revised deficit of US$11 billion a year earlier, the report showed.
Direct investment recorded a net outflow of US$2.32 billion compared with a net outflow of a revised US$57 million a year earlier.
Portfolio investment had a net inflow of US$2.91 billion.
This compares with a net outflow of US$11.7 billion a year ago.