SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports soared 81.2 percent on-year in the first 10 days of May as shipments of chips, autos and petroleum goods remained robust amid a global economic recovery, customs data showed Tuesday.

The country’s outbound shipments stood at US$12.5 billion in the May 1-10 period, compared with $6.9 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Imports rose 51.5 percent on-year to $14.6 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $2.1 billion during the cited period, the data showed.

By sector, outbound shipments of memory chips, a key export item, rose 52 percent on-year, and those of autos soared 358.4 percent.

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

Exports of petroleum products also jumped 128.2 percent on-year as oil prices have picked up amid an economic recovery. Shipments of telecommunication products increased 97.2 percent on solid demand for remote learning and work.

By country, shipments to China — South Korea’s largest trading partner — rose 45.5 percent on-year, and those to the United States jumped 139.2 percent.

The South Korean economy is on a recovery track on the back of robust exports and improving domestic demand.

Exports, which account for half of the economy, jumped 41.1 percent on-year in April to extend their gains to a sixth consecutive month.

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 revised up its 2021 growth forecast of exports to 7.1 percent from its estimate of 5.3 percent in November.