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By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports jumped 45.6 percent on-year in May to extend their gains to a seventh consecutive month due to strong demand for chips amid the global economic recovery, underscoring a rebound from the pandemic-caused slump, data showed Tuesday.
Outbound shipments came to US$50.7 billion last month, compared with $34.8 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Imports rose 37.9 percent to $47.8 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.93 billion. It marked the 13th consecutive month for the country to post a trade surplus.
The May exports growth was slightly below the market estimate. According to a poll by Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News Agency, the country's May exports were expected to have risen 47.5 percent on-year.
By segment, exports of chips advanced a whopping 24.5 percent to $10 billion, extending gains to the 11th consecutive month. They rose above the $10 billion threshold for the first time since 2018.
Outbound shipments of automobiles jumped 93.7 percent, and those of petrochemical products also shot up 94.9 percent.
By destination, exports to China jumped 22.7 percent on-year in May, and those to the United States soared 62.8 percent over the cited period. The two countries take up around 40 percent of South Korea's exports.
Shipments to the European Union and Southeast Asia also jumped 62.8 percent and 64.3 percent, respectively.
On the back of the solid recovery of exports, South Korea's central bank last week revised up its annual economic growth forecast to 4 percent, compared with the previous estimate of 3 percent in February.
The OECD revised its 2021 growth outlook for the global economy to 5.8 percent from its earlier estimate of 5.6 percent. Next year, the global economy is expected to grow 4.4 percent.
In 2020, the country's outbound shipments came to $512.8 billion, down 5.4 percent from 2019.
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