ISLAMABAD: The country’s merchandise trade deficit with the nine regional countries widened by 17.92 per cent to $6.193 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to $5.252bn in the same period last year.

An increase in imports from China and India during the period under review drove the trade deficit.

According to data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan, exports to regional countries, particularly China, increased over the review period, but exports to other regional countries remained negative.

In absolute terms, the value of Pakistan’s exports to the nine regional countries — Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives — rose 20.74pc to $3.313bn between July and March 2023-24 from $2.744bn over the corresponding months of last year.

Contrary to this, imports increased 18.88pc to $9.506bn in 9MFY24 from $7.996bn over the correspon­ding period of last year. This shows a slight increase in trade deficit with maximum countries in FY24. Pak­istan’s bulk of regional exports, over 60pc, go to China, while the rest goes to the remaining eight countries.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2024

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