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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said on Tuesday that it had previously released incorrect trade figures for August.

It said the error occurred due to the use of an incorrect exchange rate for August. This error has now been rectified and correct numbers now appear on the PBS website.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also took notice of the error and instructed the PBS that it should duly verify all reports for accuracy before making them public.

The statement said the premier appreciated the fact that the overall balance of trade improved in August.

As per the corrected figures, exports recorded growth of 12.89 per cent to $1.87bn in August against $1.65bn a year ago.

In the first two months of 2017-18, exports grew 11.8pc to $3.49bn against $3.13bn over the corresponding months of 2016-17.

On the other hand, imports recorded growth of 24.85pc to $9.79bn in July-August against $7.84bn a year ago.

Imports increased 15.08pc to $4.95bn in August against $4.3bn in the corresponding month of the last fiscal year.

The trade deficit in the first two months widened 33.52pc to $6.29bn against $4.72bn a year ago.

The prime minister also chaired a meeting to review the trade balance and measures to boost exports. The Ministry of Commerce presented various short-term and medium-term options to increase exports and contain imports.

An official statement issued after the meeting quoted the premier as saying that the government would not take any measure that could have a dampening impact on Pakistan’s economic growth rate and development.

The meeting also discussed the country’s GSP+ status and reviewed various measures to expand exports to the European market. The premier said Pakistani diplomatic missions should serve as economic and trade ambassadors.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association (PBEA) Chairman Shabbir Ahmed demanded that monthly trade statistics should be published immediately at the end of each month on the PBS website.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017