ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s oil and eatables imports grew 9.06 per cent to $7.58 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year from $6.95bn a year ago, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said on Tuesday.

In contrast, textile and clothing exports could only rise by 3.68pc year-on-year to $4.58bn due to slow demand and the high cost of local production because of expensive energy. The government has recently announced to offer subsidy on energy for the export sector.

The oil import bill increased by over 5.94pc to $4.86bn in July-September from $4.59bn over the corresponding months of last year.

Further breakup showed that the import of petroleum products went up by 9.79pc in value. Crude oil imports rose by 7.98pc in value during the period under review while those of liquefied natural gas declined by 5.35pc in value. Liquefied petroleum gas imports jumped by 10.69pc in value in FY23.

The food import bill rose by over 15.21pc to $2.72bn in the three months under review from $2.36bn a year ago to bridge the local production gap. Within the food group, the major contribution came from wheat, sugar, edible oil, spices, tea and pulses.

Pakistan imported 856,813 tonnes of wheat in the first quarter of this year to bridge the shortage in local production. The import value of the wheat stood at $408.65m during the months under review.

Palm oil imports rose 27.45pc to $1.13bn between July and September this year against $891.15m in the corresponding period last year.

Contrary to this, the machinery import bill declined by 37.89pc to $1.76bn in 1QFY23 against $2.84bn in the same period last year. The major contribution to the decline came from the import of almost all sectors, including mobile phones and textile machinery. However, the electrical machinery posted growth during the period under review.

The transport group also posted a negative growth of 45.17pc to $605.63m in the first quarter of this year against $1.10bn over the corresponding months of last year.

Textile exports

The PBS data showed that the textile and clothing exports grew by just 3.68pc year-on-year in July-September. High energy cost was one of the reasons for the slowdown in textile exports.

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Pattern-in-Chief Khurram Mukhtar told Dawn that non-disbursement of refund payments has become a real challenge for textile exporters. He said refund payment orders for the period Sept 16 to Oct 17 are still unpaid.

“If the situation continues then we fear that November textile export may dip by 20pc,” he warned.

Data showed that ready-made garments exports jumped 5.85pc in value and 39.31pc in quantity in July-September, while the exports of knitwear edged up 15.40pc in value and 64.56pc in quantity.

Bedwear exports dipped by 2.93pc in value and 20.01pc in quantity.

Towel exports declined by 1.67pc in value and 18.22pc in quantity. However, exports of cotton cloth rose by 4.21pc in value and a decline of 22.67pc in quantity.

Among primary commodities, cotton yarn exports dropped by 18.14pc and those of yarn made from materials other than cotton by 4.97pc.

The exports of made-up articles — excluding towels — declined by 8.97pc, while those of tents, canvas and tarpaulin grew 40.56pc during the period under review.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2022

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