SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's export hit a new record high last month thanks to the continued recovery in global demand from the COVID-19 pandemic, a government report showed on Wednesday.
Export, which accounts for about half of the export-driven economy, reached 60.44 billion U.S. dollars in November, up 32.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Import surged 43.6 percent to 57.35 billion dollars last month, sending the trade surplus to 3.09 billion dollars. The trade balance stayed in black for 19 months in a row.
The outbound shipment surpassed the previous high of 55.92 billion dollars tallied in September this year, topping 60 billion dollars for the first time in the country's history.
The export continued to grow for 13 straight months since November last year, keeping a double-digit increase for the ninth consecutive month.
The daily average export advanced 26.6 percent over the year to 2.52 billion dollars in November.
Among the country's 15 major export items, the shipment of 13 products grew last month amid the global demand recovery from the pandemic.
Semiconductor export jumped 40.1 percent over the year to 12.04 billion dollars in November, exceeding 10 billion dollars for the seventh straight month.
Demand continued to rise for chips used for artificial intelligence (AI), driverless vehicles and big data, the ministry said.
Petrochemical shipment spiked 63.0 percent to 4.84 billion dollars on the higher price for crude oil and the recovery in major economies.
General machinery export gained 11.6 percent to 4.74 billion dollars, keeping an upward trend for nine months due to the revitalization in the manufacturing and construction sectors of major economies.
Automotive export added 3.3 percent to 4.12 billion dollars last month, marking the first rebound in three months on the back of the shipment of new models to Europe.
Oil products shipment more than doubled to 3.96 billion dollars on expensive crude oil, while the export for display panels and mobile devices continued to expand for eight and 13 months respectively.
Export to South Korea's four major export destinations increased in double figures in November.
Export to China, South Korea's biggest trading partner, soared 27.1 percent from a year earlier to 15.3 billion dollars in November on solid demand for locally-made chips, petrochemicals and general machinery.
Shipment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) picked up 32.8 percent to 10.58 billion dollars in the month, topping 10 billion dollars for the first time.
Export to the United States and the European Union (EU) rose in double digits to 8.13 billion dollars and 5.29 billion dollars each, keeping an upward trend for the 15th consecutive month.
For the first 11 months of this year, the outbound shipment hit a new record high of 583.8 billion dollars. It was up 26.6 percent compared to the same period of last year.
The ministry forecast that export for the whole year of 2021 would surpass 600 billion dollars and log a new record high. The record yearly high was 604.9 billion dollars tallied in 2018.