S Korea exports expand in January, indicating pick-up

South Korea's exports expanded last month, indicating Asia's fourth-largest economy is gradually picking up. 

According to preliminary data from the Knowledge Economy Ministry, exports jumped nearly 12 percent in January, from a year earlier, to over US$46 billion.

Imports rose almost 4 percent to some US$45 billion.

This, resulting in a trade surplus of US$874 million.

South Korea's economy relies heavily on exports, which account for about half of its gross domestic product.