ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports grew for the third consecutive month in November to $2.161 billion, up 7.67 per cent from $2.007bn in the corresponding month last year, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday.

The increase in exports is mainly driven by double-digit growth in proceeds from textile and non-textile commodities. Meanwhile, during the month under review, imports also increased 7pc leading to a slight increase in trade deficit.

Data showed a significant growth has been seen in the exports of home textiles (20pc), pharmaceutical products (20pc), rice (14pc), surgical goods (11pc), stockings & socks (41pc), jerseys & pullovers (21pc), women’s garments (11pc) and men’s garments (4.3pc), as compared to Nov 2019.

Between July to November, exports slightly increased by 2.11pc to $9.737bn, from $9.536bn over the corresponding months of last year.

Exports in the new fiscal year started on a positive note but witnessed a steep decline of 19pc in August before rebounding in September, October, and November.

To promote exports of textile products, the Ministry of Commerce on Friday released Rs1.78bn for the textiles sector under Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) scheme. “I hope this will resolve the liquidity issues of our exporters and enable them to enhance exports”, said Adviser to PM on Commerce and Textile Razak Dawood.

He said the DLTL for non-textile sector are also being released shortly. Razak also disclosed that the export of animal casings from Pakistan to Japan has resumed after a ban of four years. “I commend the efforts made by our trade section in Tokyo. I advise our trade missions to actively engage with importers,” he said.

“I urge exporters to take benefit of this opportunity and move full speed ahead”, the adviser added.

In FY20, exports fell by 6.83pc or $1.57bn to $21.4bn, compared to $22.97bn the previous year. Data shows visible improvements in export orders from international buyers, mainly in the textile and clothing sectors since May.

On the other hand, imports also rose by 7.77pc in November to $4.229bn, as against $3.924bn over the corresponding month of last year. During 5MFY20, the overall import bill slightly increased by 1.29pc to $19.422bn, up from $19.175bn over the corresponding months of last year.

The continuous decline in imports has provided some breathing space to the government in managing external accounts despite a downward trend in exports. However, imports are now expected to increase further in the coming months following the abolishment of regulatory duty on imports of raw materials and semi-finished products.

In FY20, the import bill witnessed a steep decline of $10.29bn or 18.78pc to $44.509bn, compared to $54.799bn in the previous year.

The country’s trade deficit also went up by 7.88pc in November, mainly due to a growth in imports proceeds. In absolute terms, the trade gap stood at $2.068bn, as compared to $1.917bn over the corresponding month of last year.

In the first five months, the trade deficit edged up 0.48pc to $9.685bn, as against $9.639bn over the last year. During FY20, it narrowed to $23.099bn, from $31.820bn.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2020

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