The recession has seen pharmaceutical exports fall from $850m (€672m) in September, which was still down 28 per cent on the corresponding month in 2007, to $477m in December.
This is less than half of the pharmaceutical exports recorded December 2007, with big declines in sales to key markets driving the downward trend.
Exports to the EU and US have dropped significantly, with falls of 64 per cent and 94 per cent respectively being the biggest. These peaks are in keeping with a general trend that is continuing in the latest figures, which saw pharmaceutical exports to the US fall by 79 per cent.
Singapore’s reliance on overseas trade has resulted in it being badly hit by the downturn in trade, which has resulted in it becoming the first Asian country to enter recession.
Despite this government has been keen to emphasise that the fall in trade is not exceptional when compared to other economies in the region.
South Korea, Taiwan and China were cited as other countries facing similar difficulties in the current economy. Details of Chinese pharmaceutical exports were not available but the total for all products fell by 17.5 per cent in January, marking the biggest fall in a decade.
Similarly South Korea’s exports fell by over 33 per cent in January as reduced demand for products from overseas hit the domestic economy.
Analysts’ views differ on when the economy will begin its resurgence but it is clear, with the heavy reliance on demand from Western countries, that some Asian economies have challenging months ahead.