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South Korean economy in 'recovery' mode as trade surplus hits new high

SEOUL--South Korea's trade surplus widened to a new high of US$44.19 billion in 2013, helped by steady growth in exports, government data showed Wednesday.

Total exports in 2013 rose 2.2 percent from a year ago to a record high of US$559.72 billion while imports fell 0.8 percent to US$515.53 billion, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The trade balance has been in the black since February 2012.

In December alone, exports climbed 7.1 percent year-on-year to US$48.05 billion and imports rose 3.0 percent to US$44.38 billion.

Economic officials said Asia's fourth-largest economy would remain on track for recovery.

The government has predicted the economy would grow 2.8 percent in 2013 and 3.9 percent in 2014.

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