By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's industry minister said Tuesday the country's exports are estimated to have rebounded in September, probably marking the first increase in outbound shipments since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
"The country's exports are expected to post their first growth since the COVID-19 pandemic," Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said during his visit to a local small and-medium-sized company. "Exports are recovering at a relatively faster pace than other major nations."
South Korea had extended its slump in exports to a sixth month in August, as a resurgence of the new coronavirus around the globe continued to strain business activities.
The country had enjoyed a 4.5 percent rise in its outbound shipments in February, the first on-year rebound in 14 months. But the country's outbound shipments fell in March, and the pace further accelerated, plunging 25.5 percent in April and 23.6 percent in May, as major trade partners closed their borders and suspended business activities amid the pandemic.
As major partners resumed their business activities, exports already rose 3.6 percent on-year in the first 20 days of September, marking the first 20-day rise in six months due to a sharp gain in exports of semiconductors, customs data showed last week.
The minister said outbound shipments of chips, cars and electronic goods might have fared well.
"It is significant that exports of automobiles, which more than halved in May, may have posted their first growth in six months in September," Sung added.
South Korea plans to come up with a new set of policies to help exporters expand their sales through online platforms in October, the ministry said in a statement.
The country will release its official monthly export data Thursday.
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