(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from para 3)
By Kim Soo-yeon
SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports rose 30.7 percent on-year in the first 10 days of September on the back of robust demand for petroleum products and autos, customs data showed Monday.
The country's outbound shipments stood at US$19.5 billion in the Sept. 1-10 period, compared with $14.9 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Imports soared 60.6 percent on-year to $21 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.46 billion during the cited period, the data showed.
By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, declined 2.1 percent on-year in the cited period. Exports of semiconductors rose for the 14th consecutive month in August on solid global demand.
Semiconductors accounted 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 petroleum products soared 131.1 percent on-year in the first 10 days of September as oil prices rose amid the global economic recovery. Those of autos increased 46.8 percent despite global supply shortages of automotive chips.
By country, shipments to China -- South Korea's largest trading partner -- rose 24.5 percent on-year, and those to the United States jumped 44.8 percent.
The South Korean economy is on a recovery track on the back of robust exports. But the latest resurgence in COVID-19 cases and the fast spread of the delta variant emerged as major downside risks for the economic recovery.
Exports, which account for half of the economy, rose 35 percent on-year in August, extending their gains to the 10th straight month.
The Bank of Korea forecast Asia's fourth-largest economy to grow 4 percent this year. The government forecast economic growth of 4.2 percent.