ISLAMABAD: While the overall imports declined slightly during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, the country’s oil import bill went up by four per cent year-on-year to $11.899 billion, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reported on Monday.
The import bill of three sectors—agriculture, textile and oil posted positive growth, while imports from almost all other groups including machinery-related items contracted during the months under review.
The PBS data for July-April period showed the overall import bill during the 10-month period declined by 7.88pc year-on-year to $45.47bn.
Product-wise data showed that petroleum group imports rose 4.1pc, to $11.89bn during the period, with the largest surge coming from crude oil, up 14.3pc.
The cost of petroleum products’ imports dipped 14.38pc during the 10 months, whereas a 13.87pc decline was recorded in terms of the total quantity imported; bringing the total down to 7.42 million tonnes.
On the other hand, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports soared by 46.06pc, while that of liquefied petroleum gas plunged 5.2pc.
The data for the period shows a changing trend in the imports, with machinery-related imports registering a marginal decline, and oil imports — including LNG — bill increasing in large part due to the rise in global oil prices.
Machinery imports, for July-April FY19, plunged by 21.06pc to $7.49bn, from $9.49bn last year led by shrinking textile- related imports and power generating machinery at 7.46pc and 52.03pc, respectively.
However, mobile phone imports also dipped by 6.86pc while those of construction machinery declined 34.67pc. Transport group, another major contributor to the cumulative trade deficit, also witnessed a steep fall of 34.89pc during the period under review. The months saw a dip in imports of almost all transport-related items. Food imports — the second leading contributor to the total import tally — shrank 9.85pc during the period under review.
The country’s food imports dropped by 9.85pc to $4.7bn in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, as compared to the imports of $5.216bn recorded during the same period last year.
Product wise details show import of palm oil witnessed a sharp decrease of 10.99pc; pulses 2.3pc; milk, cream and milk food 10pc; spices 5.5pc; soybean oil 34.3pc; sugar 25.46pc; and other miscellaneous food commodities 9.41pc. The import bill of tea recorded a nominal increase of 0.61pc during the period under review.
Textile exports inch up: Textile and clothing exports proceeds posted a negative growth of 0.02pc YoY to $11.12bn during the 10 months whereas cumulative textile proceeds during the period under review also posted marginal decline of 0.11pc YoY to $19.16bn.
Product-wise details show that exports of ready-made garments went up by 3.21pc, knitwear up 8.76pc, bed wear 2.4pc, whereas towel exports declined 1.39pc, while that of cotton cloth declined by 2.7pc in value.
The slow growth in textile and clothing exports comes despite government’s support in the form of cash subsidies, special export packages and multiple rupee depreciation during the last year.
Among primary commodities, cotton yarn exports declined by 15.78pc, yarn other than cotton by 0.29pc whereas made-up articles — excluding towels — increased by 1.15pc, tents, canvas and tarpaulin up by 1.41pc with proceeds from raw cotton dipping by 67.2pc during the period under review.
Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2019