By Kwanwoo Jun

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

The stronger-than-expected pickup after two straight months of declines came in as demand for Korean goods was back on rise in such major overseas markets as 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 a median market forecast for a 1.6% gain. That followed a 3.2% fall in the previous month.

Imports increased 10.1% from a year earlier to $37.49 billion in November, compared with a market forecast for a 3.4% rise, and a revised 4.8% fall in the prior month.

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, lower oil prices and a slowdown in China.

Write to Kwanwoo Jun at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 30, 2016 19:40 ET (00:40 GMT)

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