By Kwanwoo Jun

SEOUL--South Korea's exports rebounded in November for the first time in three months, with shipments to China, its largest trading partner, returning to a rise for the first time in 17 months.

The stronger-than-expected pickup after two straight months of declines was partly driven by a return to increase in demand for Korean goods in major overseas markets including China, the U.S., Japan and India.

Exports rose 2.7% in November from a year earlier to $45.49 billion, preliminary data from the trade and industries ministry showed Thursday, beating the median forecast for a 1.6% gain in a survey of five analysts by The Wall Street Journal. The rise followed a 3.2% decline in the previous month.

Imports increased 10.1% from a year earlier to $37.49 billion in November, much stronger than the median market forecast for a 3.4% rise and a revised 4.8% fall in October.

The trade surplus widened to $8 billion in November from a revised $6.97 billion in October. The market had forecast a $9.5 billion surplus in November.

Despite the powerful turnaround in November, Korea's trade-reliant economy is still facing challenges from the rise of international protectionism amid sluggish global demand and a slowdown in China.

Write to Kwanwoo Jun at kwanwoo.jun@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 30, 2016 19:55 ET (00:55 GMT)

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