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Southeast Asia exports buoyed by medicine and food during pandemic

Singapore and Thailand see increased trade despite global slowdown

Singapore's pharmaceutical exports surged 170%. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

SINGAPORE -- Exports out of Southeast Asian trade hubs Singapore and Thailand have stayed strong even as the novel coronavirus pandemic slows economies around the world, thanks to robust global demand for such essentials as medicine and food.

Singapore's exports, excluding oil, rose 9.7% on the year in April, up for the third straight month. This was driven by pharmaceuticals, which surged 170%. Shipments to advanced economies grew by record numbers, increasing almost 10-fold to Japan and more than quintupling to the European Union. Food exports rose 66% overall, with shipments to the U.S. tripling.

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