The value of South Korea\'s trade hit a record high in the first half of this year as exports soared on the back of an improving world economy, customs data showed Friday. Trade was worth $532.9 billion in January-June, exceeding the previous first-half export and import record of $434.8 billion in 2008. Exports were worth $274.8 billion, up 24.2 percent from a year earlier, while imports grew 26.6 percent to $258.1 billion. The customs office expects trade growth to continue in the second half to reach a volume of around $1.1 trillion for the full year. Growth in exports during the first half was driven mostly by refined oil products, which increased 71.1 percent. Exports of ships, steel products and cars rose 30.9 percent, 30.7 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from a year earlier. China remained the largest export destination, taking shipments worth $64.4 billion during the six-month period. The figure for the United States and Japan was $27.9 billion and $19 billion respectively.