Korea’s exports of diagnostic reagents (HS3822) recorded 17 months of trade balance surplus in a row. However, the monthly exports and surplus decreased slightly from the same period last year.
Exports of diagnostic reagents amounted to $76.47 million in August, exceeding $150 million for the second consecutive month, but fell 0.7% YoY, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Last year, exports of diagnostic reagents peaked at $300 million in December, with an upward trend of the COVID-19 second and third waves.
However, with the start of COVID-19 vaccination worldwide, monthly exports have also decreased significantly, falling below $200 million per month this year.
In particular, in April, exports of diagnostic reagents not only returned the triple-digit growth rate that had been going on for 13 months, one year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic but also sharply reversed to a negative growth rate of more than 40%
The negative growth continued for three months in a row until June, but in July, it rebounded as it approached the $200 million mark, and the growth soared to 44.6% YoY.
Although it returned to negative growth in August, its eight-month cumulative exports amounted to $1,261.43 million, up 21% versus the same period last year.
Unlike a slight drop in exports of diagnostic reagents in August, imports increased by nearly 20%.
Monthly imports amounted to $73.17 million, down about $1 million from July, but the growth rate rose from 15.3% to 19.2% YoY.
Similar to the growth rate of exports, which rose to triple digits with the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year, the increase in imports exceeded 10%, maintaining double digits for 18 consecutive months until August.
It has been below 20% for three consecutive months since June, but the cumulative imports for eight months have preserved an increase of more than 25% (25.8%) to $575.39 million.
Meanwhile, while exports fell slightly in August, imports increased by nearly 20%, greatly reducing the surplus.
The monthly trade surplus in August fell 11.2% YoY to $133 million, but it has been in surplus for 17 consecutive months since April last year, achieving a surplus of more than $100 million for the second consecutive month. The cumulative surplus for eight months was $686.04 million, up 17.3% from a year earlier.