SEOUL - South Korea’s exports for November rose to $47.92 billion on the back of robust sales of mobile devices and ships, official data showed Sunday.

Exports, which account for about a half of the South Korean economy, increased 0.2 percent on-year while imports fell 0.6 percent to $43.11 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $4.8 billion for last month, the trade ministry said.

It was the 22nd consecutive month that South Korea — Asia’s fourth-largest economy — had posted a trade surplus. It last recorded a deficit in January 2012.

The accumulated trade surplus from January to November amounts to $40.55 billion and is on course to hit an annual record in 2013, the ministry added in a statement.

The previous annual record was set in 2010 when the trade surplus reached $41.17 billion.

“Exports to China expanded thanks to robust sales of tech products including mobile devices, while exports to the US and the EU rose as economic recovery fanned demand for consumer goods,” the ministry said.

Exports to China — the South’s largest trade partner — rose 3.7 percent from a year ago while exports to the EU climbed 6.8 percent.

Overseas shipments of mobile devices made by companies like Samsung and LG surged 12.6 percent on-year, while exports of ships made by builders including Hyundai soared 30.5 percent.

“The shipbuilders’ exports surged after they won orders for lucrative deals involving drill ships,” the statement said.

Memory chip shipments rose 8.2 percent as growing global production of low-end and mid-range smartphones fanned demand, the ministry added.

South Korea’s economy expanded 1.1 percent in the second and third quarters of this year — the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2011.

The government has predicted the country’s economy will grow by 2.7 percent this year and further accelerate by 3.9 percent in 2014.