ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s trade deficit ballooned to $33.9 billion in eleven months (July-May 2018), up 13.4 per cent over the same period last year. It is expected to touch $40bn by the end of the concluding year when final yearly data will be posted.
Total imports over the 11 month period galloped to a record $55.2bn while exports crawl up to $21.3bn. For the full year, optimistically speaking, exports can hit the target of $23bn but assuming other things remain unchanged imports may climb to around $63bn. In the last reported month of May 2018 export was counted to be $5.8bn and in June 2018 it could easily be close to $7 bn.
“This is an extraordinary situation that warrants extraordinary measures. I don’t understand what is stopping the caretaker setup that has virtually no political stakes to chip in their bit by being decisive,” commented another frustrated businessman
The trade data testifies beyond doubt that measures directed to contain imports and boost exports have not turned up the desired results. As external front vulnerabilities intensified the last government introduced cash margin requirements and enhanced regulatory duties on 58 non essential items to squeeze importers liquidity and make luxury items dearer in the local market.