ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports trend started looking down after a gap of four months, witnessing a double-digit decline in April despite the preferential market access to the European market.

As a result, 20 per cent monthly trade deficit was observed, the highest in first 10 months of this fiscal year, suggested data compiled by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) here on Friday.

Ironically, the PBS has delayed the release of statistics on trade account, which is issued on the 10th or 11th day of a month.

On Thursday, PBS issued data regarding the health of economy in a meeting of National Accounts Committee on statistics for nine months to paint a bright picture of economic performance. The exports declined by 9.97 per cent to $1.915 billion in April 2014 from $2.127bn in April 2013.

In rupee terms, the exports declined by 10.72pc in April suggesting that appreciation of rupee may be one of the reasons for the decline.

The ministry of commerce has estimated that exports will pick up in the months ahead because of duty exemptions on goods following GSP+ scheme.

Official Spokesperson for Commerce Ministry Fazal Abbas Maken was surprised to see the trend. “There were no reasons for decline in exports”, he said.

Maken said the ministry will analyse the reasons of decline on product basis and country specifics.

But an official of the textile industry said growth in exports will depend on improvement in energy supply to the textile industry in Punjab which has yielded the desired results.

Export proceeds grew 4.24pc to $20.997bn in July-April period this year from $20.143bn in the corresponding period last year.

In terms of rupee, export proceeds witnessed growth of 12.21pc in July-April 2014 over the corresponding months of last year.

Contrary to this, imports rebounded and witnessed a growth of 4.04pc to $4.067bn in April 2014 from $3.909bn over the corresponding month of last year.

In 10 months, the imports witnessed a paltry growth of 1.20pc to $37.105bn as against $36.665bn over the corresponding period of last year.

As a result, Pakistan’s trade deficit narrowed down by over two per cent in the first 10 months of this fiscal year from a year ago owing to a growth in exports and stagnation in imports.

In absolute terms, the trade deficit fell to $16.108bn in July-April 2013-14 from $16.522bn over the corresponding period last year, a decline of 2.51pc.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2014

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