Pakistan trade deficit touches highest level of history
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Trade deficit has touched highest level of its history and serious concerns have been raised over the widening trade gap.
Trade deficit has widened 14 percent to $30.245 billion during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year of 2017/18, official data revealed on Thursday.
Trade deficit amounted to $26.436 billion in the July-April period of the last fiscal year.Exports reached $19.207 billion in the July-April period of the current fiscal year as against $16.895 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, up 14 percent in dollar terms. Imports rose to $49.452 billion in the period under review as compared to $43.331 billion a year earlier.
Secretary Commerce Younus Dagha bet that exports recovery would ease pressure on trade balance. “We can only hope to contain the deficit within manageable limits,” Dagha said. “With CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) machinery coming in, the increased exports (19 percent in April and 14 percent overall) are good omen for the external sector.”
Commerce secretary said the increase of $2.3 billion in exports is expected to be $2.7 billion by yearend, which “will reduce the need for foreign financing”. In April, trade deficit shrank six percent to $2.977 billion over the same month of the last fiscal year, demonstrating that the pace of increasing trade deficit slowed down.
Exports fetched $2.132 billion in April as against $1.798 billion in the same month of the last fiscal year, registering an increase of 19 percent, the highest monthly growth in the recent past. Imports stood at $5.109 billion in April as against $4.962 billion, registering a marginal increase of three percent.
In April, exports, however, were down four percent from $2.231 billion in March. Imports also dropped three percent in April from $5.280 billion in the previous month. Trade deficit in April decreased two percent in April from $3.049 billion.
The official data showed that the policy intervention of government and State Bank of Pakistan in terms of rupee devaluation and tariff and non-tariff barriers have started yielding positive results as exports are picking up and imports slowing down.