ISLAMABAD: Petroleum imports declined nearly 25 per cent year-on-year in the first month of 2020-21, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reported on Monday.
It clearly shows that demand for oil has yet to pick up despite relaxing of lockdown since May. The consumption of petroleum products also saw a decline over the past few months.
Data showed the total import bill of fuel group dipped by 24.9pc year-on-year to $752.465 million. Of these, petroleum product imports declined by 6.63pc in value despite increasing by 64.3pc in quantity.
Similarly, import of crude oil decreased by 21.87pc in value and increased 20.11pc quantity-wise during the month under review while those of Liquefied Natural Gas fell by 57.91pc in value.
On the other hand, liquefied petroleum gas imports jumped 49.75pc in value in July, largely to plug a shortage in local production.
The fall in imports of crude also translated into lower production of petroleum products by local refineries.
The exports of petroleum products surged 59.01pc year-on-year in July, mainly led by a 100pc growth in petroleum crude while those of petroleum products (excluding top naptha) by 34.18pc.
In addition, export of petroleum top naphtha plunged by 100pc during the month under review.
Machinery imports dipped 6.38pc to $679.463m in July from $725.793m over the corresponding month of last year even though those of power generating machinery grew 27.27pc, and electrical machinery and apparatus rose 26.41pc.
In the telecommunication group, mobile phone imports increased by 89.03pc, while import of apparatus surged by 28.78pc during the month under review. This surge was the result of a crackdown on smuggling and doing away with free imports in baggage schemes.
However, import of office machinery dropped by 31.20pc, construction machinery 29.72pc, electrical 27.83pc, and agriculture 34.85pc.
An increase of 4.56pc was seen in imports of the textile group — raw cotton, synthetic fibre, synthetic and artificial silk yarn, worn cloths; and another 16.83pc in imports of all metals.
The overall food group import bill jumped by 82.12pc during the month under review. Pakistan imported 576 tonnes of sugar during July while foreign buying of spices, tea, palm oil, and dry fruits also grew.
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2020