Food imports surge 50.3pc to $5.34bn in eight months

The import bill of edible items widened 50.3pc to $5.34 billion year-on-year in the first eight months (July-Feb) of FY21, triggering higher-than-expected trade deficit, data compiled by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed.

Food group exports, on the other hand, declined 5.85pc YoY to $2.85 billion during 8MFY21.

According to PBS, food imports increased 40.5pc YoY to $704 million in February 2021 as against Feb 2020, while it dropped 4pc MoM when compared with Jan 2021.

During the July-February FY21 period, Pakistan imported 2,167,242 metric tonnes of palm oil, worth $1.58 billion. This marked an increase of 34pc compared with the same period of the last fiscal year. A sharp increase was also seen in tea imports, which jumped 16pc YoY to $379 million when compared to 8MFY20.

The food group contributed around 17.5pc of the total exports during the eight-month period.

On the exports side, rice, fruits and fish & fish preparations were the major sources of foreign exchange earnings as their exports were valued at $1.33 billion, $339 million and $250 million, respectively. In terms of percentage, the exports of rice, fruits and fish & fish preparations declined by 4.26pc, 1.89pc and 10pc YoY, respectively.

During the month of February 2021, the exports of food products decreased 2.9pc YoY and 0.53pc MoM to $411 million.

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