Salman Khan
Salman Khan

ISLAMABAD: The country’s trade deficit shrank 30 per cent month-on-month to $3.36 billion in January, mainly led by lower imports amounting to $5.91bn compared to $7.58bn in December, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Wednesday.

However, the trade deficit widened 92pc year-on-year to $28.8bn during the first seven months (July to January) of the current fiscal year amid rising imports and limited growth in the exports.

The PBS data showed that the exports rose to $17.67bn during the seven-month period from $14.25bn a year ago, showing an increase of 24pc.

On the other hand, imports jumped 59pc to $46.47bn during July-January from $29.25bn in the same period last year.

Widens 92pc year-on-year to around $29bn in July-Jan

In rupee terms, the trade deficit more than doubled to Rs4.91 trillion during the seven months under review compared to Rs2.44tr during the same period a year earlier.

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Finance Minister spokesman Muzzammil Aslam said that during the last few months, the unprecedented increase in the import bill was mainly due to the import of Covid-19 vaccines, sugar and wheat.

However, the county now had surplus stocks of sugar and wheat and no longer needed to import these commodities, he said.

The inflation in the country had reached at its peak now and it would decline in the coming months along with imports and trade deficit, he added.

Trade in services

On the other hand, Pakistan’s export of services was significantly lower than their imports.

During the July-December period, Pakistan exported services worth $3.41bn compared to $2.84bn in the first six months of the previous fiscal year, showing an increase of 20pc.

However, the import of services jumped 38.8pc to $5.25bn during the seven-month period compared to the corresponding period a year ago.

The key performers were the IT freelancers, who earned export revenue of $216.78 million during the first six months of the current fiscal year, showing a growth of 16.74pc compared to last year’s exports of $185.69m.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2022

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