SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports rose 24.8 percent on-year in the first 10 days of April as shipments of chips and autos remained robust amid an economic recovery from the pandemic, customs data showed Monday.

The country’s outbound shipments stood at US$15 billion in the April 1-10 period, compared with $12 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Imports increased 14.8 percent on-year to $16.7 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.7 billion during the cited period, the data showed.

This file photo, taken March 2, 2021, shows ships carrying containers docking at a port in South Korea's southeastern city of Busan. (Yonhap)

By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, rose 24.8 percent on-year and those of autos gained 29.8 percent.

Semiconductors accounted for about 20 percent of exports by South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chip maker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc. Autos made up some 7 percent of total exports.

Exports of telecommunication products jumped 52.5 percent on-year and those of petroleum products climbed 35.2 percent as oil prices have picked up amid an economic recovery.

By country, shipments to China — South Korea’s largest trading partner — rose 27.6 percent on-year, and those to the United States gained 22.6 percent.

The South Korean economy is on a recovery track, aided by robust exports of semiconductors and vehicles.

The country’s exports, which account for half of the economy, advanced 16.6 percent on-year in March to extend their gains for the fifth consecutive month. Overseas shipments grew 12.7 percent on-year to $146.7 billion in the first quarter.

Last year, the country’s overseas shipments came to $512.8 billion, down 5.4 percent from the previous year due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, the Bank of Korea (BOK) revised up its 2021 growth forecast of exports to 7.1 percent from its estimate in November of 5.3 percent.