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Weak rupee pushes up oil imports to $5.2bn

Updated November 17, 2018

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The country’s oil import bill increased by 16.8 per cent year-on-year to $5.2 billion during the first four months of the current fiscal year largely due to the rise in global oil prices and depreciation of the rupee. —AP/File photo
The country’s oil import bill increased by 16.8 per cent year-on-year to $5.2 billion during the first four months of the current fiscal year largely due to the rise in global oil prices and depreciation of the rupee. —AP/File photo

ISLAMABAD: The country’s oil import bill increased by 16.8 per cent year-on-year to $5.2 billion during the first four months of the current fiscal year largely due to the rise in global oil prices and depreciation of the rupee.

In terms of quantity, petroleum products fell by 40.33pc to 3.65 million tonnes while that of petroleum crude was down 11.33pc to 3.17m tonnes.

According to latest data released from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the overall import of commodities edged lower by a slight 0.1pc to $19.04bn during July-October, from $19.06bn in same period last year.

During the period, machinery imports plunged by 17.8pc to $3.03bn in 4MFY19, from $3.68bn over the corresponding period of last year. Similarly, the transport group shrank 19.28pc to $1.04bn, down from $1.29bn.

The import bill under the head of ‘agricultural and other chemicals’, on the other hand, was recorded at $3.09bn – up 9.31pc — from $2.83bn in 4MFY18.

The data breakdown show that the surge in the petroleum group bill was driven by crude oil, soaring by 44.97pc to $1.68bn during July-October as against $1.16bn over the corresponding months of last year.

Further details reveal that payments for liquefied natural gas (LNG) soared by 123.3pc while that of liquefied petroleum gas plunged 27.74pc during the period under review.

The machinery imports have continuously seen a decline since July 2018 while in the recent past it used to fuel trade deficit of the country.

Between July-October FY18, machinery imports fell by 17.8pc to $3.02bn, from $3.68bn last year. This was led by shrinking imports of textile and power-generating machinery at 22.99pc and 25.44pc, respectively.

Moreover, mobile phone imports went up 6.2pc while those of construction machinery dipped 25.44pc.

Food imports — the third-largest component contributing to the total import tally — shrank 9.69pc, mainly because of decline in import bill of almost all products except pulses and tea.

Textile exports edge lower

The country’s exports of textile and clothing posted a decline of 0.12pc year-on-year to $1.13bn during October, PBS reported on Friday.

The export proceeds have continued to shrink for the past two consecutive months despite government’s support in the form of cash subsidies and depreciation of the rupee.

During 4MFY19, the export proceeds from textile group crawled up 0.41pc to $4.4bn as against $4.3bn from same period last year.

Total exports of the country registered 3.48pc growth, clocking in at $7.28bn during the first four months of the current fiscal year.

The decline is very obvious in the semi-finished products and raw materials while value-added goods provided some relief in the outgoing month.

Value-wise, exports of ready-made garments were up 7.62pc, knitwear 16.13pc while bed wear dipped 0.37pc, towel exports 2.88pc, cotton cloth 1.21pc.

Among primary commodities, cotton yarn exports declined by 34.84pc, raw cotton 60.92pc whereas yarn other than cotton edged up 0.04pc, made-up articles — excluding towels — 8.8pc and tents, canvas and tarpaulin increased by 6.19pc during October.

Food group was the second biggest contributor in the export proceeds, and saw its value fall by 6.12pc, in part due to a 6.47pc decrease in the rice exports proceeds.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2018

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