Pakistan’s exports to the Middle East have witnessed a notable increase in the first half of the current fiscal year.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) recent data compilation, the exports escalated by 32.33 percent, reaching $1.506 billion compared to $1.138 billion in the same period last year.
This growth has been primarily fueled by heightened demand for Pakistani products in countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Conversely, exports to Qatar and Bahrain saw a decrease during the same timeframe.
The government’s recent initiative to sign a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is anticipated to further enhance Pakistan’s export potential to this region.
This agreement is a strategic move to boost trade relations and economic cooperation between Pakistan and the GCC member states.
The detailed breakdown reveals a remarkable increase in exports to Saudi Arabia, which rose by 48.27 percent to $328.23 million in July-December of the current fiscal year, up from $221.37 million in the corresponding months of the previous year.
Similarly, exports to the UAE saw a surge of 37.93 percent, reaching $1 billion compared to $725.99 million in the first six months of the previous fiscal year.
However, the exports to the UAE experienced a decline of 20.23 percent in the fiscal year 2023 compared to the fiscal year 2022.
Pakistan’s primary exports to the UAE include a variety of products such as rice, bovine carcasses and half carcasses, cotton ensembles for men and boys, and fruits like guavas and mangoes.
Meanwhile, exports to Kuwait modestly increased by 2.21 percent to $62.05 million, and exports to Qatar and Bahrain showed declines of 14.9 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
The overall export performance to the Middle East contrasts with the previous fiscal year’s downturn, where exports decreased by 12.62 percent.
Furthermore, Pakistan’s import figures also reflected a downward trend, with a 7.24 percent reduction in the fiscal year 2023, amounting to $17.488 billion compared to $18.853 billion in the prior year.
This rebound in exports to the Middle East marks a positive shift in Pakistan’s trade dynamics, indicating a recovery and potential for further growth in the international market.