The South Korean biohealth industry’s monthly exports surpassed $800 million in March, a 13 percent growth from a year earlier, mainly due to increased shipments to the US and China.

Trade Ministry data released Tuesday revealed that Korea exported $111.7 million worth of biohealth products to the US in March, $80 million to China, $60.3 milion to ASEAN nations and $145.9 million to European countries.

Pharmaceuticals exports marked $401 million, up 17 percent from a month earlier and marking the highest figure in 13 months.

Biosimilar exports to the US and Europe, as well as exports of medical devices such as ultrasonic image diagnosis machines, were seen to have boosted the growth.

A Trade Ministry official said that while chips and petrochemical exports lagged, performances of ships, rechargeable batteries and biohealth exports helped alleviate the decline.

Korea’s overall exports fell on-year for the fourth consecutive month in March.

According to the Trade Ministry’s report, total outbound shipments came to $47.1 billion, down 8.2 percent on-year, and inbound shipments came to $41.9 billion, down 6.7 percent on-year.

Analysts offered the sluggish semiconductor market, slowing Chinese economy, as well as global economic slowdown as reasons behind the continued fall in overall exports.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (