South Korea’s exports hit a record monthly high last month thanks to the global demand recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a government report showed Sunday. Outbound shipments spiked 29.6 percent from a year earlier to 55.44 billion US dollars in July, according to the ministry of trade, industry and energy. It was the highest-ever export since data began to be compiled in 1956, topping the previous high of $55.12 billion tallied in September 2017. Imports advanced 38.2 percent over the year to 53.67 billion dollars in July, sending the trade surplus to $1.77 billion. The trade balance stayed in the black for 15 straight months. Exports soared more than 20 percent for the fourth consecutive month, continuing to rise for nine months since November last year.