Exports surge by 13.14pc, trade deficit widens by 17.3pc in first 9 months

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KARACHI: The country’s exports have enhanced by 13.14 per cent in first nine-months of the current fiscal year to $17.081 billion, as compared to $15.097 billion in the same period last year.

Commenting upon the latest developments in the country’s balance of trade, an economic analyst working in the government said, “The country’s exports increased as per market expectations, but the imports are still out of control despite all measures taken by the government.” However, there has been a major decline in the country’s imports during March which increased by only 6.09 per cent when compared to March 2017.

The government machinery including the Ministry of Commerce had used its all tactics to overcome the country’s import surplus by imposing heavy taxes on 731 items, the analyst claimed.

The imports of the country increased by 15.66 per cent to $44.379 billion in July-Mar 2017-18 compared to $38.369 billion in the same period last year. However, it increased by 10.07 per cent on-a-year on year basis, while 6.09 per cent on month-on-month basis.

The imports increased by 10.07 per cent on a YoY basis as total imports stood at $5.280 billion in March 2018, compared with $4.797 billion in February 2018.

The country’s exports slightly enhanced by 13.14 per cent to $17.081 billion during July-Mar 2017-18 compared to $15.097 billion in the same period last year. However, it increased by 17.30 per cent on YoY basis and 24.36 per cent on MoM basis.

The trade deficit enhanced to 17.30 per cent to $27.299 billion in July-Mar 2017-18 compared with $23.272 billion in the same period last year. On a YoY basis, it increased only by 5.32 per cent compared to February 2018 and 4.21 per cent on MoM basis.

The trade deficit stood at $3.049 billion in March 2018 compared to $2.895 billion in February 2018. It swelled up only by 6.09 per cent compared to March 2018.

The analyst said, “the impact of the devaluation of Pak-Rupee has started showing on export figures.” The exports are growing as per the expectations, but the problem is with the growing imports which are creating problems for the current account through the trade deficit.

Total foreign reserves of the country had come down to below $17.796 billion last week because of rising import bills.

The central bank again devalued Pakistani rupee by 5 per cent in February 2018 which may also help to enhance the exports and reduce the imports, the analyst claimed. However, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also upheld the discount rate at 6 per cent for the next two months.

Analysts of the brokerage houses believed that exports of goods may touch above $22-23 billion if the federal government releases industrialists’ refunds and export’s rebates etc on time.

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 slide by 15.75 per cent from $23.667 billion in 2014-15.