ISLAMABAD: While the official data is yet to be released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has claimed that the country’s exports in June 2020 witnessed a decline of 6.83pc, terming it a “sign of recovery after the historic fall of 54pc in April”.
According to the ministry, the single-digit decline in June showed a clear improvement in the country’s export trend, particularly after a fall by 8pc, 54pc and 33pc in March, April and May, respectively.
“Pakistan’s exports are showing clear signs of recovery due to the efforts of the exporters to diversify their products in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, and also due to the support extended by the government in this regard,” said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood while chairing a meeting to discuss the export strategy of Pakistan on Thursday.
During the meeting, the adviser was briefed on the current facts and figures related to the trend of Pakistani exports.
It was informed that before the outbreak of the pandemic near the end of February 2020, Pakistan’s exports were on an upward trajectory, showing an increase of 14pc YoY in dollar terms. The February momentum continued despite the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in the country, as exports in the first 10 days of March 2020 registered an increase of 13pc as compared to last year.
According to officials, after the mid of March, Pakistan’s export-oriented industry felt the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns as well as the global economic slowdown. This led to an 8pc decline in March exports as compared to the same month of last year.
The situation persisted and, in April 2020, the exports showed a downward trend of 54pc as compared to April 2019, they added.
Following the month of April and with the efforts of the government to encourage the export sector, the first signs of recovery were observed in the month of May 2020, which saw 33pc decline in exports as compared to the same month last year. The momentum continued in June 2020, as the downward trend was brought down to a meagre 6.8pc.
In addition to a positive trend in exports, the figures also indicated that the ministry’s strategies for geographical and product diversification were bearing fruits. For instance, there was a significant improvement in the exports to Africa, which was an outcome of ‘Look Africa Policy’, as well as the Middle East.
Similarly, the export of meat products has shown also decent growth, while tobacco depicted a promising future.
In the textile sector, value-added products showed an improvement, while at the same time, the export of cotton yarn and fabric went down. As a result of overall progress, the trade balance has improved by $8.7 billion, indicating that the current account deficit was also at manageable levels.
Commenting on the trends of exports, Razak Dawood underscored that the export sector was given a new impetus by the government by allowing the export of Personal Protective Equipment, barring three items, which was indicated by the surge of exports in the month of June.
He added that other government policies for diversification of exports and international markets would enable the exporters to continue the thrust in the current fiscal year as well.
The advisor noted that the traditional exports of Pakistan, like garments and bedwear etc., were also picking up and would show improved performance in the financial year 2020-21.