SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's exports rose for the 13th consecutive month on strong global demand for locally-made semiconductors, a government report showed Friday.
Exports, which account for about half of the economy, increased 9.6 percent from a year earlier to 49.67 billion U.S. dollars in November, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The country's exports kept rising from November last year. This month's overseas shipment was the biggest among any November figure in the past, surpassing the previous high of 47.91 billion dollars tallied in November 2013.
Imports advanced 12.3 percent over the year to 41.83 billion dollars in November, sending the trade surplus to 7.84 billion dollars. The trade balance stayed in the black for 70 months in a row.
Daily exports averaged 2.07 billion dollars in November, up 9.6 percent from a year earlier. It was the 12th straight month of expansion.
The brisk exports were led by robust demand for semiconductors, of which overseas shipment surged 65.2 percent over the year to 9.57 billion dollars in November.
The chip exports were the second-biggest monthly figure ever recorded by the South Korean economy. Chip exports continued to grow by over 50 percent for the eighth consecutive month.
Shipments of major items also posted a double-digit increase. General machinery exports gained 19.6 percent to 4.65 billion dollars, marking the biggest among any November figure in history.
For the first 11 months of this year, exports for chips and general machinery reached 88.3 billion dollars and 44.1 billion dollars respectively, logging the largest ever in the cited period.
For the January-November period, overall exports reached 524.8 billion dollars, up 16.5 percent compared with the same period of last year. It was the biggest in the cited period.
Exports for petrochemicals and oil products advanced 17.7 percent and 38.4 percent each in November from a year ago, while computer shipments climbed 18.4 percent.
Display panel exports rose for 13 straight months through November thanks to demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED), of which exports kept rising for 31 months in a row.
Steel shipments continued to grow for the eighth consecutive month on higher steel prices, while auto shipments managed to gain amid rising demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles.
However, auto parts exports tumbled 10.8 percent on weak demand from locally-made cars in North America and Asia.
Exports of telecommunication devices, including smartphones, plunged 21.5 percent as local manufacturers raised production in overseas factories.
Shipments for home appliances sank 23 percent, while ship orders dropped 77.1 percent amid the still struggling global shipping industry.
By region, exports to China, South Korea's biggest trade partner, posted a new record monthly high of 14.02 billion dollars in November. It was up 20.5 percent compared with the same month of last year.
Exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations advanced 13.4 percent to 8.28 billion dollars, logging the 13th consecutive month of growth.
The portion of South Korea's exports to China accounted for 24.4 percent of the total during the January-November period, down from 25 percent in the same period of last year.
The percentage for South Korea's exports to the United States also declined from 13.5 percent to 12.1 percent in the same period.