Pak exports surge by 22.54% in Aug 2018, overall by 5.05%

KARACHI: In the first two months of the current fiscal, the country’s export stood at $3.663 billion, up by 5.05 percent compared to the same period last year, while it enhanced by 22.54 percent compared to July 2018 while 8.8 percent compared to August 2017, the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS) said here on Tuesday.

It is a great challenge for the recently-installed PTI government and its Finance Minister Asad Umar to overcome the rising trade gap and increase exports that have remained stagnant for last three years. In 2017-18, the exports surged by 12 percent compared to 2016-18.

According to the data, the trade deficit of the country slightly decreased by 1.25 percent to $6.167 billion in July-August 2018 compared to $6.245 billion in July-August 2016-17. However, it decreased by 6.80 percent compared to July 2018 and 2.87 percent compared to August 2017.

Country’s import in first two-month of the current fiscal year stood at $9.830 billion, which is up by 1.01 percent compared to July-August 2016-17. It increased by 3.18 percent compared to July 2018 and 1.40 percent compared to August 2017.

The import bill had touched $55.8 billion in 2017-18 – more than double of the total export’s inflows of $24.772 billion.

The industry sources claimed that the current account deficit further widened to $18.5 billion in 2018-19. The government should take effective measures to enhance exports up to $4 billion per month, which seems to be impossible, they added.

The incoming government of Imran Khan must implement long-term policies that can improve the overall competitiveness of Pakistani industries rather than repeatedly apply ineffective short-term measures, they added.

The previous policies of the Nawaz Sharif only supported to a few selected exporters, the market experts said.

In the first week of July 2018, the central bank devalued the Pak Rupee by around 5.5 percent in the interbank market to Rs128.50, but as the election 2018 were held, the rupee gained by Rs4 in the interbank market and being traded at Rs124.20 for buying and Rs124.40 for selling today.

The Pak Rupee has been devalued 4th time since December 2017. The rupee has been devalued by 21 percent so far. The government had devalued Pak Rupee by 5% on December 8, 2017, to Rs 110, 4.5% to Rs115 on March 20, 2018, and 5% to Rs 121. During the last 10 years, Pak Rupee has devalued annually by around 5 percent.

Because of the rising current account deficit, the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $16,370 billion on 31 August 2018. The reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have decreased by $342 million to $9.885 billion.

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