ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s merchandise exports shrank slightly in September due to the rising cost of inputs mainly the highest-ever electricity tariff, provisional data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday.

The exports start posting negative growth right from the first month of the current fiscal year barring August when a slight increase was witnessed because of the backlog of the preceding month. A drop in exports is a worrisome factor, which will create problems in balancing the country’s external account.

The exports in September fell 0.91 per cent to $2.38bn from $2.40bn over the same month last year. The month-on-month decline was noted at 3.8pc.

In July, the first month of the current fiscal year, the export proceeds shrank by 5.17pc. However, the exports revived and posted a growth of 11.6pc from the previous year’s month.

Trade deficit shrinks 21.42pc to $9.20bn in 1QFY23

In July-September, the total export proceeds stood at $7.12bn against $6.99bn in the corresponding period last year, indicating a growth of 1.84pc. The paltry growth shows that it will be difficult in the current fiscal year to achieve the annual export target.

For the first time, the country not only achieved the export target but exceeded the psychological barrier of $30bn in FY22. Pakistan’s exports increased 26.6pc to $31.845bn in the just-ended fiscal year, up from $25.160bn a year ago.

Contrary to this, the import bill fell by 19.72pc to $5.26bn in September from $6.56bn in the same month last year. On a month-on-month basis, the import bill declined by 13.21pc.

The import bill in the first three months (July and September) stood at $16.33bn this year against $18.71bn last year, indicating a decline of 21.42pc.

The import bill increased 43.45pc to $80.51bn during 2021-22, up from $56.12bn a year ago.

As a result of the decline in imports, the trade deficit in September fell by 30.62pc to $2.88bn this year from $4.15bn over the corresponding month last year. In the first quarter, the trade deficit dipped 21.42pc to $9.20bn this year from $11.71bn over the corresponding months of last year.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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