ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s merchandise exports increased for the second month in a row after a year-long downward trend, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.

In absolute terms, the export proceeds were recorded at $2.70bn in October against $2.38bn over the corresponding month of last year, indicating a growth of 13.55pc. However, on a month-on-month basis, the export proceeds increased 9.33pc to $2.70bn.

The export of goods in the first four months of FY24 increased by 0.66pc to $9.61bn against $9.55bn in the corresponding period last year.

The recovery in export proceeds in October indicates that the textile and clothing industries have started to receive orders from international buyers after months of slump. However, the true extent of the export recovery will be revealed in the coming months.

According to a preliminary report, the increase in overall export value was mostly driven by semi-finished goods in the textile sector, while value-added garment exports remained negative. Furthermore, in the non-textile sector, the export earnings of food goods, particularly rice and beef, have posted unprecedented increases in recent months.

The commerce ministry reported that more than 1,600 textile units were closed down in the past 16 months.

However, the commerce ministry has yet to announce the strategic framework to provide regional competitive energy pricing, working capital support, speedy refund payments, enhanced market access, and diversification of products.

The export proceeds were declining because of internal and external factors stoking up fears about the closure of industrial units, especially textile and clothing.

At the same time, the imports also rose by 4.91pc to $4.80bn in October from $4.58bn in the same month last year. On a month-on-month basis, the imports increased by 20.33pc. The import bill fell 18.54pc to $17.03bn in July-October FY24 from $20.91bn over the corresponding months last year.

The imports fell 31pc to $55.29bn in FY23 from $80.13bn in FY22. The government has projected an import target of $58.69bn for FY24 against $55.29bn in FY23, an increase of $3.4bn or 8.14pc.

The trade deficit narrowed 34.70pc to $7.41bn in July-October FY24 from $11.35bn over the corresponding months of last year. The trade deficit fell 4.46pc to $2.09bn in October from $2.19bn over the corresponding month last year.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2023

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