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Merchandise exports dip 14pc

October 14, 2015

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Analysts say the drop is alarming for the government.—Reuters/File
Analysts say the drop is alarming for the government.—Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Merchandise exports fell by 14 per cent to $5.164 billion during the first quarter (July-Sept) of 2015-16 from $6bn in the same period last year, indicating stock piling of industrial and agricultural products in the country.

On a month-on-month basis, exports declined by over 20pc in Sept 2015, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data revealed on Tuesday.

Analysts say the drop is alarming for the government, as the subsidy scheme announced in the latest budget for exporters, and zero-duty access to European markets have failed to accelerate the exports.

Exports last year (July-Sept 2014-15) also fell by over 10pc as compared to the same period preceding year.

Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir was not available for comments. However, a senior official of the ministry attributed the decline to energy shortages, especially in Punjab. But the most important issue, according to an exporter, was indifference of the government towards the problems faced by businesses.

The official informed that the commerce ministry has given a detailed presentation to the prime minister over the decline in exports and the PM is soon expected to announce a package for exporters.

Another official blamed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for hijacking the working of the commerce ministry and heading all those committees constituted to boost exports.

He said foreign buyers were reluctant because of political uncertainty in the country.

Meanwhile, imports fell by 14.39pc to $10.679bn during the quarter from $12.474bn in the same period last year.

On a month-on-month basis, imports declined by 11.94pc in Sept 2015. The drop was one of the biggest in the last couple of years, however, which commodities witnessed a robust decline, during the month, was not clear.

The trade deficit in July-Sept 2015-16 contracted by 14.81pc to $5.515bn from $6.474bn in the same period last year. In Sept 2015, trade deficit was 26pc month-on-month lower, due to the drop in imports and exports.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2015

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