Year-on-year, exports increased by 2.6 percent to USD 40.1 billion, following a 10.3 percent fall in July. It was the first rise since December 2015 while market expected a 0.6 percent gain.
Sales to China, the largest market for South Korean products, fell by 5.3 percent and marking the 14th straight month of decrease. Outbound shipments also declined by 4.8 percent to the US and the EU countries, respectively.
Imports unexpectedly went up 0.1 percent to USD 34.8 billion, after declining 13.6 percent in the preceding month and market consensus of a 3.3 percent decline. It was the first growth since September 2014
In July 2016, trade surplus was marginally revised to USD 7.60 billion.
The trade balance has been in consistent surpluses since February 2012.