SEOUL-- South Korea's outbound shipments grew at the fastest pace among the world's top 10 exporters in the first nine months of the year thanks to an upturn in global demand, data by the World Trade Organization (WTO) showed Sunday.

Exports jumped 18.5 percent on-year to US$430.2 billion over the January-September period, maintaining its standing as the world's sixth-largest exporter, according to the WTO's monthly merchandise trade data.

The trade organization said trade among 71 countries that account for 90 percent of global trade moved up 9.2 percent in the cited period from a year earlier.

The on-year growth by Asia's fourth-largest economy outpaced numbers for the United States and China, which expanded 6.2 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

The growth exceeded that of Germany's 6.1 percent on-year expansion, 7.9 percent tallied for Japan and 12.5 percent for the Netherlands.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy attributed South Korea's strong performance to the economic recovery in advanced and developing countries, and rising demand for information technology products like semiconductors. It added diversification into emerging markets contributed to the solid increase.

On the other hand, it said concerns of trade protectionism and uncertainty surrounding oil prices could adversely affect South Korea's exports in the remaining months of 2017, the ministry said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency