Indo-Pak trade plunges in six months

Updated Jan 23 2020

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Pakistan’s overall trade deficit dipped 30.26pc year-on-year to $11.7bn during July-December FY20.
Pakistan’s overall trade deficit dipped 30.26pc year-on-year to $11.7bn during July-December FY20.

KARACHI: Amid strained bilateral relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, the trade between the two countries continued to suffer, but still mostly skewed in India’s favour in the first half of 2019-20.

The latest data issued by the State Bank of Pakistan shows that bilateral trade volume plunged in the first half of this fiscal year.

Pakistan’s exports to India during the period came in at an insignificant $16.8 million as compared to $213m in first half of 2018-19.

Meanwhile, imports from India also fell to $286.6m as against $865m in the same period. As a result, Pakistan’s trade deficit with the eastern neighbour amounted to $269.8m.

Similarly, imports from China — the country’s largest trade partner — fell to $4.8 billion during July-December versus $5bn in same period last year. However, exports slightly rose to $936m, up from $889m in 1HFY19.

This meant a trade balance with China at a negative $864bn.

With the second largest partner, the United Arab Emirates, there was some improvement as exports to the Gulf country increased to $827m in 1HFY20, from $638m. This was driven by a significant decline in imports to $3.6bn, down from $5bn.

Pakistan has succeeded to drastically reduce the current account deficit mainly through cut in imports bill, which is also reflected in the above-mentioned two cases.

Exports to Afghanistan declined to $543m in 1HFY20, from $534m while imports fell to $77.7m, as compared to $85m in same period last year.

On the other hand, imports from Sri Lanka increased to $35.9m in July-December, from $26.5m whereas exports to the island state decreased to $155m versus $162m in corresponding half of 2018-19.

With Bangladesh, both imports and exports Bangladesh went down as the former edged lower to $24m in the six-month period, from $32m while the latter amounted to $369m, as against $378m in corresponding half of the previous year.

Despite efforts and incentives, exports couldn’t give the desired growth as exports of goods only inched up $529m to $12.391bn, from $11.862bn.

Similarly, the exports of services increased by just $158m to $2.738n in the first half of this fiscal year.

In contrast, imports of goods were cut by a massive $5.8bn to $22.2bn while those services by $224m to $4.533bn during the periodu.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2020