South Korea's exports rose 3.6 percent on-year in the first 20 days of September, marking the first 20-day rise in six months due to a sharp gain in exports of semiconductors, customs data showed Monday.

The nation's outbound shipments stood at US$29.6 billion in the Sept. 1-20 period, up $1.02 billion from a year ago, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

The average daily exports during the 20-day period, however, dropped 9.8 percent.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted trade and halted production around the globe, with a rising number of countries fully closing their borders.

Imports declined 6.8 percent on-year to $25.1 billion in the 20-day period, according to the data.

By segment, exports of memory chips, a key item, jumped 25.3 percent, and those of automobiles surged 38.8 percent on-year in the 20-day period.

Semiconductors account for about one-fifth of outbound shipments in South Korea, home to Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest memory chip maker, and its smaller rival SK hynix Inc.

By country, shipments to China -- South Korea's largest trading partner -- gained 8.7 percent on-year, and shipments to the United States rose 16.1 percent.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has predicted that South Korea's economy could shrink 1.2 percent this year, as the global economy is expected to have its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s due to the pandemic.

The world economy is expected to contract 6 percent this year, the OECD said.