Pakistan’s trade deficit narrows by 13pc in 10 months

KARACHI: Pakistan’s trade deficit has narrowed by 13 percent during first 10 months (July – April) 2018/2019 owing to significant fall in import bill, according to trade data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Wednesday.

The trade deficit narrowed to $26.3 billion during July – April of current fiscal year as compared with the deficit of $30.17 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year.

The major reason behind shrinking trade deficit was reduction in import bill. The import bill was declined to $45.47 billion during first 10 months of current fiscal year when compared with $49.36 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.

The exports of the country, however, remained stagnant. The exports were at $19.17 billion during July – April 2018/2019 as compared with $19.19 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in its third quarterly report said that most of the deficit reduction during Jul-Mar FY19 was recorded in Q3, when imports dropped quite sharply in response to a deepening decline in purchases of foreign power generation machinery, aircraft and railway locomotives; technical and administrative hiccups in LNG imports (and power generation); and a temporary softening in global oil prices.

Further support came from regulatory and macro stabilization measures taken earlier, which impacted industrial performance and reduced demand for imported raw materials (such as iron and steel), and also curtailed consumers’ demand for cars (thereby lowering imports of CBUs).

In percentage terms, the 18.1 percent decline in the overall imports in Q3-FY19 was the largest drop in a quarter in almost 10 years. It was more than sufficient to offset a 3.3 percent contraction in exports in the quarter, and led the trade deficit to drop by a sizable 27.6 percent

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