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SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports rose 11.1 percent on-year in the first 20 days of November, customs data showed Monday, raising cautious hopes of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The country's outbound shipments stood at US$31.3 billion in the Nov. 1-20 period, compared with $28.1 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Per-day exports also increased 7.6 percent on-year in the Nov. 1-20 period, the data showed.
Imports gained 1.3 percent on-year to $27.9 billion in the 20-day period, according to the data.
Exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, were battered by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic this year. But the pace of the slump has eased since June, as major economies slowly began resuming business activities and lifting border lockdowns.
By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, jumped 21.9 percent from a year earlier in the first 20 days of November, while those of automobiles rose 11.9 percent.
Semiconductors account for about 20 percent of exports by South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest memory chip maker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc.
But exports of petrochemical products sank 48.2 percent on-year on low oil prices.
By country, shipments to China -- South Korea's largest trading partner -- rose 7.2 percent on-year, and exports to the United States gained 15.4 percent.
Last month, South Korea's exports declined 3.6 percent from a year earlier due to fewer working days and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, snapping the previous month's brief rebound, according to data from the trade ministry.