exports-Q1 tally

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports increased 0.5 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier in the face of the continued global economic slowdown, a report showed Thursday.

According to report compiled by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), the country's exports reached an estimated US$135.5 billion in the January-March period, while imports declined 3 percent on-year to reach $129.7 billion in the first quarter.

Consequently, Asia's fourth-largest economy logged a trade surplus of $5.88 billion in the first three months of 2013, widening from $1.18 billion a year earlier, it said.

By product, mobile phones, LCDs and petrochemical goods posted a whopping increase in their overseas sales, while the shipbuilding, steel and automaking sectors suffered from weak demand.

"Exports of chips and LCDs are recovering in line with a recovery in the overall IT sector," said the association. "But steel and other sectors suffered a drop in overseas demand."

Exports to Asian countries remained firm in the first quarter, with those to China showing signs of recovering. But shipments to the European Union, the U.S. and Japan continued to show a slowdown, it said.

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