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Pak trade deficit shrinks to USD 11.8 billion in first four months of current fiscal

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Pakistan's trade deficit marginally contracted to USD 11.8 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year on the back of almost flat growth in imports for the fourth consecutive month while the pace of increase in exports remained modest despite numerous rounds of currency depreciation.

The Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said the USD 11.8 billion deficit, recorded in July-October FY19, was nearly 2 per cent or USD 237 million lesser than in the same period last fiscal, reported on Friday.

Exports in the July-October period increased 3.52 per cent to USD 7.3 billion. In absolute terms, the export receipts rose USD 248 million, but the pace of increase was slower than the preceding year.

The value of imported goods stood at USD 19.1 billion, which was only 0.6 per cent or USD 11 million higher than the import bill in the corresponding period of previous fiscal year.

Exports were 261 per cent less than the value of imports.

Imports of the country have started to ease due to the State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) numerous policy and administrative measures. Additionally, the has imposed heavy regulatory duties on imported goods.

Over the past 10 months, the SBP has let the rupee depreciate by 26.6 per cent to 133.7 against the US dollar in a bid to curtail the current account deficit which is presently Pakistan's biggest challenge.

Owing to the slowdown in imports, the current account deficit narrowed to USD 3.7 billion in first quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year.

However, despite a steep fall in the value of the currency, Pakistani exporters are unable to take full advantage of the situation because of their failure to diversify shipments. The government voices hope that exports will bounce back and register average growth of 18 per cent compared to last year's level.

has offered a USD 1 billion duty-free facility to for enhancing its exports. As compared to over USD 15 billion worth of imports, exports only USD 1.2 billion worth of goods to China, which is not commensurate with the potential. Bilateral trade is regulated under the 2006 Free Trade Agreement.

Pakistan does not have exportable surplus and there is a high probability that the country will avail the USD 1 billion facility by exporting additional quantity of rice and some other agricultural produce.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 19:20 IST