C/A turns negative in December after five-month surplus

Published January 21, 2021
After staying in surplus for five consecutive months, the country’s current account posted a deficit of $662 million in December. — AFP/File
After staying in surplus for five consecutive months, the country’s current account posted a deficit of $662 million in December. — AFP/File

KARACHI: After staying in surplus for five consecutive months, the country’s current account posted a deficit of $662 million in December, data released by the State Bank of Pakistan showed on Wednesday.

The current account was in surplus of $513m in November. On a year-on-year basis, the monthly deficit swelled by more than 130 per cent, data showed.

The deterioration in the current account appears to originate from a sudden surge in imports last month. Imports of goods in December amounted to $5bn, up by $940m or 23pc from November. Growth in goods imports last month was more than 32pc on an annual basis.

In contrast, exports of goods re­­corded a nominal increase of 0.6pc, thus worsening the balance on trade in goods by more than 50pc in Dec.

The current account reflects the country’s total transactions with the rest of the world. A deficit suggests the nation is a net borrower.

Cumulatively, the current account posted a surplus of $1.13 billion for the first two quarters of 2020-21 as opposed to a deficit of over $2bn in the corresponding period of the preceding fiscal year.

However, according to the SBP data it was first time in the past decade that the country recorded a current account surplus for two consecutive quarters.

Controlling the runaway current account deficit has been one of the key achievements of the government on the economic front.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2021

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