SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has become the world's sixth largest exporter, moving up two notches from 2016, on the back of brisk sales of memory chips and a rally in oil prices, the trade ministry said Tuesday.
Exports by Asia's fourth-largest economy jumped 16.5 percent in the first 11 months of this year, surpassing the $500 billion mark on Nov. 17, the fastest pace on record, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
The ministry expected total outbound shipments to reach a record high of $575 billion this year.
Shares of South Korean goods on the global market rose to a record 3.3 percent in the first half of this year, the latest numbers showed.
The ministry said exports were boosted by strong demand in the IT and manufacturing sectors, as well as increased oil prices.
The semiconductor industry has hit a super cycle, with demand for DRAMs for mobile chips and servers outpacing supply. This development propped up overseas sales by tech giants, including Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc.
Sales to China, South Korea's top trading partner, rose 14.2 percent in the January-November period on the back of memory chips, steel and petrochemical products, despite sour diplomatic ties over Seoul's deployment of an American missile defense system.
Shipments to the United States, the nation's second-largest export market, gained 4.3 percent in the cited period, as an infrastructure and manufacturing boom contributed to demand for general machinery and steel, offsetting sluggish vehicle sales.
The ratio of exports to emerging markets, including Southeast Asian nations, India and Eastern European countries, increased, as major exporters stepped up efforts to diversify their business portfolio.
In an event marking the 54th anniversary of Trade Day held at the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX) in southern Seoul, the ministry celebrated South Korea's trade volume reaching $1 trillion for the first time in three years and granted awards to the best-performing exporters and entrepreneurs.
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