Pakistan’s trade deficit shrinks 32% due to lesser imports

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports recorded 6% growth during October 2019, while imports declined 17% over same month of last year resulting in 32% reduction in the trade deficit.

In October, exports increased to $2.0 billion against $1.89 billion in corresponding month of last year. Imports however dropped to $3.98 billion over same month of last year when imports were recorded at $4.8 billion, the Ministry of Commerce reported.

Thus, in the month under review, the economy accumulated trade deficit [export-import gap] of $1.974 billion against $2.905 billion in same month last year depicting a decline of 32 percent.

During July-Oct 2019/20, exports increased by 3.6 percent to $7.53 billion and imports down by 19.3 percent to $15.34 billion. During these four months of last financial year, exports were at $7.27 billion and imports were recorded at $18.966 billion.

During these four months, the economy racked up trade deficit of $7.78 billion against $11.7 billion recorded in same period of last financial year depicting a decline of 33.5 pc.

It is worth mentioning that since 2003, Pakistan has been consistently accumulating trade deficit, mainly due to high energy products imports. Interestingly, since 2012, China has emerged as Pakistan’s largest trading partner replacing the United States.

In recent years, the biggest trade deficits were recorded with China, India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Malaysia. Pakistan records trade surpluses with the United States, Afghanistan, Germany and United Kingdom.

Experts say diversification in exports to other markets, especially those located in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle Eastern countries is the call of the day. The government should also encourage technological upgrades in exports, develop agriculture, cottage industry, handicrafts, as well as gems and jewelry sectors, they added.

It is worth mentioning that in last financial year [2018/19], Pakistan trade deficit stood at $31.8 billion against $37.6 billion in 2017/18.

During the FY19, imports dropped by 9.9 percent to $54.8 billion compared with $60.8 billion in the preceding fiscal year. Exports during July-June 2018/19, totaled $22.98 billion against $23.2 billion in same period of FY15 depicting a decline of 1 percent.

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