SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports hit a record high in the first quarter as shipments of chips and autos remained robust amid the pandemic, customs data showed Thursday.

Overseas shipments amounted to US$146.5 billion in the January-March period, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Customs Service.

The reading marked the largest volume for any first quarter since the customs agency began compiling related data.

The country’s exports rose for the fifth straight month in March as shipments of semiconductors and autos remained robust amid revived global demand from the pandemic.

Exports of chips grew 13.4 percent on-year to $27.2 billion in the first quarter, and those of autos jumped 32.4 percent to $11.4 billion, 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)