Trade deficit surged a whopping 31.24pc in July-Oct 2017-18

Exports increase by a mere 10.04pc in July-Oct this year

KARACHI: Despite all the efforts of the federal government to reduce the country’s foreign import by levying tax on 731 items, the imports of the country have increased by 22.55 per cent to $ 19.189 billion in July-Oct 2017-18 compared to $ 15.658 billion in the same period last year; however it only enhanced by 10.19 per cent compared to September 2017.

The country’s exports slightly enhanced by 10.04 per cent to $ 7.060 billion during July-October 2017-18 compared to $ 6.416 billion in the same period last year. However, it increased by 12.72 per cent as the country exported goods worth $ 1.888 billion in September 2017, the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS) said here on Monday.

The trade deficit further surged to 31.24 per cent to $ 12.129 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year compared to $ 9.242 billion in the same period last year. On a year-on-year basis, it increased by 8.68 per cent compared to September 2017.

An analyst said, “The impact of government measures, taken last month, to control the imports of good would be seen in the upcoming months.” The rising imports could further deteriorate the financial condition of the country as foreign reserves are depleting rapidly amid insignificant export growth.” Total foreign reserves of the country had come down below $ 19.5 billion only because of rising import bills, he added.

To control the imports, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet has given the approval to implement additional duties in the range of 5-15 per cent on import of non-essential items. These are expected to include used cars, tyres, mobile phones, select consumer items, tiles, electronic goods (other than computers) and garments etc. The detailed list of 731 items has been issued.

Analysts of the brokerage houses believe that export of goods may improve this year if the federal government releases industrialists’ refunds and export’s rebates etc.

Despite all the efforts of the government to enhance exports in 2016-17, the country’s goods exports had declined by 1.63 per cent to $ 20.448 billion in (July-June) 2016-17 from $ 20.787 billion in the same period last year. In last two years, the country exports had slid by 15.75 per cent from $ 23.667 billion in 2014-15.

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Arshad Hussain
The author is business reporter at Pakistan Today. He can be reached at [email protected] He tweets @ArshadH47736937
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