August exports of diagnostic reagents $157.69 million, -10.6% YoY
[Newsmp] The trade deficit of pharmaceutical products has fallen for the second consecutive month.
On the other hand, diagnostic reagents that have expanded their surplus this year have decreased for two straight months.
According to the Korea Customs Service, exports of pharmaceutical products (HS30) in August amounted to $587.08 million, exceeding $500 million for five consecutive months since May.
This is a decrease of 4.3% from the same period last year, but the negative growth, which recorded double digits for two consecutive months in June and July, significantly retreated.
Nevertheless, as pharmaceutical products exports continued to grow negative for eight consecutive months this year, cumulative exports for eight months also fell 13.3% from the same period last year to $4.613 billion.
Since the start of the COVID-19 vaccination program, imports of pharmaceutical products, which have surged, have stabilized somewhat in the second half.
Following July, it maintained the $630 million level in August, continuing its decline for two consecutive months.
Pharmaceutical products imports, which have been steadily increasing since March last year, have expanded to double digits since July of that year, and double-digit growth resumed until June this year.
The imports also exceeded $1 billion for the second consecutive month in March and April, surpassing an average of $950 million per month during the first half.
However, in July, it plunged 25.8% year-on-year, hitting a year low of $633.35 million, and in August, it nosedived 29.8% year-on-year to $638.8 million.
Nevertheless, the cumulative imports for eight months were $6.99 billion, an increase of 16.0% compared to the same period last year, maintaining a double-digit growth rate.
In the second half, the trade deficit, which had been growing steeply, also collapsed as the decline in exports slowed amid a decrease in pharmaceutical products imports.
In the first half, the pharmaceutical products trade balance averaged $370 million per month, but the deficit shrank to $76.65 million in July, falling below $10,000 for the first time this year, and sliding to $51.72 million in August.
Nonetheless, the eight-month cumulative trade deficit increased to $2.385 billion, more than tripled from the same period last year, already exceeding the annual deficit last year.
In the meantime, unlike pharmaceutical products that saw a significant increase in the deficit in the aftermath of COVID-19, the diagnostic reagents (HS3822), which had been rising in surplus, have subsided.
In August, exports of diagnostic reagents fell 10.6% year-on-year to $157.69 million, continuing double-digit negative growth for the second consecutive month.
Diagnostic reagents exports recorded a growth rate of around 300% for three consecutive months until March, with a growth rate of 194% in exports surpassing $400 million in the first half of last year.
However, in July, monthly exports barely exceeded $100 million, plunging 49.7% year-on-year, marking the first negative growth this year.
In August, the exports increased from July, and the negative growth also shrunk to around 10%.
Despite the weakness in July and August, the cumulative eight-month exports surged 127.1% year-on-year to $2.867 billion, already achieving more than $800 million more than last year’s annual exports.
Contrasting the sharp decline in diagnostic reagents exports, imports have been rising and falling between $60 million and $80 million.
Imports in August also increased by 7.0% compared to the same period of the previous year, but the amount was $78.25 million, showing no significant difference. Cumulative imports for eight months amounted to $592.4 million, up 3.0% from the same period last year.
Amid a decrease in exports, the trade surplus also narrowed as imports increased.
The diagnostic reagent trade surplus, which had been steadily growing in three digits until June, plunged 72.0% year-on-year to $35.15 million in July, and slightly increased to $79.44 million in August, but still decreased 23.1% from the same period last year.
Nevertheless, it has been in the black for 29 consecutive months since April 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the cumulative trade surplus for eight months also jumped 231.0% year-on-year to $2.275 billion.