Trade deficit widens to $17.3bn in eight months

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s trade deficit widened to $17.3 billion during the first eight months (July–February) of the current financial year (2020-21) mainly due to an increase in import bill, provisional data released by the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday revealed.

Trade deficit was recorded at $15.87 billion during the same months of the last fiscal year.

According to the MoC data, the country’s import bill increased to $33.6 billion during the period under review as compared with $31.5 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year, showing an increase of 6.6pc.

On the other hand, exports grew 4.2pc to $16.3 billion during July–February FY21 compared with $15.64 billion in 8MFY20.

Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood attribited the widening of trade deficit to the import of raw material and intermediate goods, which increased by 7.8pc. The import of capital goods declined by 0.2pc, while that of consumer goods decreased by 7.3pc, he added.

“This shows that the Make-in-Pakistan Policy of MoC is delivering dividends and industrial activity in the country is increasing. The import bill this year also increased because we had to import wheat and sugar to stabilize the market prices,” he added.

In addition, cotton was imported to help the export-oriented industry so that the exports are not hampered.

During Jul-Feb 2021, the import of wheat amounted to $909 million, while that of sugar amounted to $126 million, and cotton $913 million.

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