Volume of South Korea's exports and imports with foreign countries has exceeded 1 trillion U.S. dollars in the first eleven months of this year, marking the largest in the country's history, a government report showed Monday.
Exports and imports topped 1 trillion dollars in the year to Nov. 28, surpassing the landmark level at the fastest pace in the country's history, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
South Korea became the ninth country in the world that has trade volume of more than 1 trillion dollars in 2011. Since then, the country's trade volume continued to surpass the level for four straight years.
The 1 trillion-dollar level was first reached by the United States in 1992, followed by Germany in 1998 and China and Japan in 2004. France surpassed the level in 2006, with Britain, the Netherlands and Italy in 2007.
Trade surplus was 5.61 billion dollars in November, staying in the black for 34 straight months. The surplus trend came amid falling exports and imports, spurring worries about the so-called "recession-type" surplus.
Exports, which make up about half of the economy, reduced 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 46.99 billion dollars in November, and imports declined 4 percent to 41.38 billion dollars.
For the first 11 months of this year, exports came to 523.74 billion dollars, up 2.4 percent from the same period of last year. Imports rose 2.3 percent to 481.87 billion dollars. Trade surplus was 41.87 billion dollars in the year to November.
The ministry expected the country's exports and imports to reach 575 billion dollars and 530 billion dollars respectively for the whole year of 2014, marking the record-high exports and trade volume.
The November exports declined on less business days, but the daily average exports increased on demand for chips, steels and general machinery.
Semiconductor exports jumped 16.7 percent on solid demand for memory chips, and steel shipments surged 13.3 percent on demand for hot-rolled plates. General machinery exports rose 2.8 percent, but oil product exports slid 21.6 percent on lower global oil prices.
Car exports declined 5.5 percent, and telecommunication devices such as smartphones fell 4.3 percent. Those are major export items of the export-driven economy.
The sluggish exports came as the Japanese yen dropped to a seven-year low versus the U.S. dollar after Bank of Japan's expanded monetary stimulus, mauling competitiveness of South Korean exporters.
The country's exports to the United States surged more than 20 percent for the second straight month, but those to China, South Korea's No.1 trading partner, reduced 3.2 percent. Shipments to Japan tumbled 24.4 percent, with those to the European Union falling 6.7 percent.
Imports of capital and consumer goods increased last month, but raw material imports fell on lower oil prices.