ISLAMABAD: Exports to the Middle East bounced back with a growth of 21.38 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year from a year ago.

A surge in demand for Pakistani products was observed from countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, according to data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan.

However, the exports to Qatar decreased during the period under review.

In FY23, Pakistan’s exp­orts to the Middle East fell by 12.62pc to $2.332bn com­p­ared to $2.669bn in the preceding year. Paki­stan witnessed a 7.24pc decline in imports totalling $17.488bn in FY23, down from $18.853bn in the previous year.

Exports to Saudi Arabia saw an increase of 29pc in the first quarter (July-Sep­t­ember) of FY24 to $149.27m from $114.83m over the corresponding months of last year. Saudi Arabia is Pakistan’s second biggest market in the region in terms of value after the UAE. In FY23, the exports jumped 13.1pc to $503.40m from $420.40m in the preceding fiscal year.

Exports to Saudi Arabia have stagnated at around $500m in the last decade due to no expansion in market access as compared to the UAE. Top exports to Saudi Arabia include rice (semi- or wholly milled), bovine carcasses and half carcasses, tents, textile materials, etc.

Nearly 62pc of total exports to the region go to the UAE market alone.

Pakistan exports to UAE surged by 27.6pc to $472.15m in the first quarter from $369.89m over the corresponding months of last year. The exports to UAE bounced back during the current fiscal year.

However, it suffered a decline of 20.23pc to $1.474bn in FY23 from $1.848bn over the corresponding months FY22.

Out of seven UAE states, the bulk of export was destined for Dubai amounting to $381.66m during July-Sept FY24 against $331.99m in the correspon­ding month last year, showing an increase of 14.36pc.

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.

Pakistan exports to Kuw­ait increased by 4.2pc to $27.26m during July-Sept FY24 from $26.14m over the corresponding mon­ths of last year. Paki­stan’s exp­orts to Qatar decl­i­ned 23.6pc to $38.78m in July-Sept FY24 from $50.81m during FY23.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2023

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