Year-on-year, exports increased 3.7 percent to USD 49.74 billion, following a revised 2.1 percent drop in November. The pace of exports in December was the quickest in the last three months. Sales to the US grew 21.5 percent year-on-year after registering a 20.8 percent increase in November.
Imports dropped 0.9 percent to USD 43.96 billion, compared with a 4.0 percent decrease in the previous month.
For the whole of 2014, exports increased 2.4 percent to USD 573.10 billion and imports rose 2.0 percent to USD 525.70 billion, bringing a USD 47.41 billion trade surplus. South Korea has been posting constant trade surpluses since February of 2012.
For 2015, the trade ministry said it expects exports to grow by 3.7 percent to USD 594.0 billion, largely due to an expansion of the country's free trade agreements, including with China. Meanwhile, imports in the year is projected to rise by 3.2 percent to USD 542 billion.