ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports to the Middle East shrank 11.87 per cent on a year-on-year basis to $1.491 billion in the first eight months of FY23 mainly driven by a substantial decline in exports to the United Arab Emirates.

The exports to the region saw a mixed trend with an increase to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, while a decline to other countries of the region, data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan showed on Saturday.

The UAE has emerged as the leading country for Pakistan’s export of goods as nearly 64pc of the total exports to the region go to the UAE market alone, however, it suffered a decline of 19.91pc to $0.945bn in 8MFY23 from $1.180 over the corresponding months last year (FY22).

Out of seven UAE states, the bulk of exports was destined for Dubai amounting to $856.27 million during 8MFY23 against $996.32m in the corresponding months last year, showing a decline of 14pc.

Pakistan’s top export products to UAE include rice, bovine carcasses and half carcasses, men’s/boys’ cotton ensembles, guavas, mangoes, etc.

Similarly, Pakistan’s top sectoral exports to the UAE include cereals, articles of apparel and clothing, meat and edible offal etc.

The second biggest market for Pakistan’s exports in terms of value is Saudi Arabia. However, the exports witnessed an increase of 15pc to $300.61m in 8MFY23 from $260.26m in the preceding fiscal year.

Pakistan’s exports to Saudi Arabia have stagnated at around $500m in the last decade, showing that no significant growth was seen in the market access as compared to the UAE.

Pakistan’s top exports to Saudi Arabia include rice (semi- or wholly milled), bovine carcasses and half carcasses, tents, textile materials, etc.

Pakistan’s exports to Qatar dipped 3pc to $119.17m in 8MFY23 from $122.87m during 8MFY22, which include rice, bovine carcasses, potatoes, onions, guavas, mangoes, etc. However, one of the most exported goods to Qatar during 7MFY23 remained footballs as Pakistan was the official football supplier to the FIFA World Cup 2022 held in November in Doha, Qatar.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2023

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