South Korea's exports rose 21.3 % in May from a year earlier on solid demand for chips and petroleum products, but the country suffered a trade deficit due to high global energy prices, data showed Wednesday.

Outbound shipments stood at USD 61.52 billion last month, up from USD 50.73 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

It is the highest tally for any May since the ministry began compiling related data in 1956. The previous record was set a year earlier.

It is also the second-largest ever monthly figure following the record number of USD 63.79 billion set in March 2022, the data showed.

Imports jumped 32.0 percent on-year to USD 63.22 billion on soaring global energy prices, leading the country to post a trade deficit of USD 1.71 billion, the data showed.