SEOUL, July 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's exports topped 50 billion U.S. dollars for four straight months for the first time in the country's history due to brisk demand for semiconductors and oil products, a government report showed Sunday.
Exports, which account for about half of the export-driven economy, reached 51.23 billion dollars in June, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
It was down 0.09 percent from a year earlier, but the country's outbound shipment surpassed 50 billion dollars for the fourth consecutive month for the first time.
During the January-June period, the country's exports amounted to 297.5 billion dollars, the biggest ever recorded in the first half. It was up 6.6 percent compared with the first half of last year.
The exports, which fell 1.5 percent in April, rebounded 13.5 percent in May. In June, the figure was almost unchanged.
The slight fall in June came as the number of business days reduced by 1.5 days compared with last year.
The daily average export, which excludes the business day effect, was 2.38 billion dollars in June. It was the second-biggest daily export ever recorded by the South Korean economy.
Imports advanced 10.7 percent from a year earlier to 44.91 billion dollars, sending the trade surplus to 6.32 billion dollars. The trade balance stayed in black for 77 straight months.
The June export was led by solid global demand for locally-made semiconductors. Chip export surged 39 percent over the year to 11.16 billion dollars in June, marking the biggest monthly figure.
The chip export accounted for more than one fifth of the total exports, keeping an upward trend for 21 months in a row amid stable memory chip prices.
Computer export gained for the 15th straight month on demand for high-capacity computer and laptop for gaming.
General machine shipment topped 4 billion dollars for the fourth consecutive month on strong demand from China and the United States, South Korea's top two trading partners.
Petrochemical export exceeded 4 billion dollars for seven months in a row amid higher crude oil price, while export for oil product surpassed 3 billion dollars for eight straight months.
Auto parts shipment rose for the third consecutive month as expensive crude oil strengthened demand from Middle East countries.
Textile export grew for four months in a row amid economic recovery in major economies such as the United States, the European Union (EU) and Japan.
Meanwhile, automobile export shrank on fewer business days. Exports for steel and display panels continue to fall last month.
Demand for locally-made telecommunication devices, such as smartphone, turned downward on stiffer competition and weak demand. Home appliance export posted a double-digit decline as local producers increased production in overseas factories.
Ship exports tumbled 82.7 percent in June, after dropping 67.1 percent amid the continued fall in ship orders.
By country, export to China, South Korea's biggest trading partner, kept an upward trend for 20 straight months on strong demand for intermediate goods.
Export to the United States gained on demand for chips, general machinery and new smartphones, while those to the European Union and Japan continued an upward momentum.
Shipment to India rose for three straight months, but those to Southeast Asian countries declined as local companies increased production in factories there.