SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's export hit a record monthly high last month thanks to the global demand recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a government report showed Sunday.
The outbound shipment spiked 29.6 percent from a year earlier to 55.44 billion U.S. dollars in July, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
It was the highest-ever export since data began to be compiled in 1956, topping the previous high of 55.12 billion dollars tallied in September 2017.
Import advanced 38.2 percent over the year to 53.67 billion dollars in July, sending the trade surplus to 1.77 billion dollars. The trade balance stayed in the black for 15 straight months.
The export soared more than 20 percent for the fourth consecutive month, continuing to rise for nine months since November last year.
The daily average export surged 32.2 percent over the year to 2.26 billion dollars in July.
Among 15 major export items, the shipment of 13 products picked up in double digits amid the recovery of global demand from the pandemic shock.
Semiconductor export spiked 39.6 percent to 11 billion dollars last month, surpassing 10 billion dollars for the third consecutive month.
Automotive shipment kept a double-digit increase for seven straight months, and petrochemical export skyrocketed 59.5 percent to 4.72 billion dollars.
Computer export recorded the highest July figure of 1.49 billion dollars as people worked from home and attended online classes amid the protracted pandemic.
The shipment of consumer electronics, secondary batteries and mobile devices continued to go up for nine months in a row.
Export to China, South Korea's biggest trading partner, expanded 15.7 percent over the year to 13.57 billion dollars in July, and the shipment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) jumped 36.8 percent to 9.63 billion dollars.
Shipment to the United States advanced 32.1 percent to 8.72 billion dollars last month, and export to the European Union (EU) surged 43.9 percent to 5.33 billion dollars.
Those to Latin American countries, the Middle East, Japan and India all climbed in double figures in July.
For the first seven months of this year, the country's export reached a fresh high of 358.7 billion dollars. It was up 26.6 percent compared to the same period of last year.
The trade ministry forecast that the export recovery would continue in the second half, citing the rapid recovery of global trade, the higher export price for key products, and the ongoing vaccination campaign in major economies.