KARACHI, July 20: Traders intensified imports of various essential items like palm oil and pulses from April to June 2012 ahead of Ramazan, while imports of tea and spices had slowed down in June after higher arrivals in April and May.
Tea imports continued to fall from April 2012. Even in June 2012 tea imports did not pick up much pace despite cut in sales tax on imports to five from 16 per cent announced in the budget 2012-2013. Tea packers, however, reduced the prices by Rs 50-60 per kg from the second week of June.
According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), tea imports in June stood at 8,218 tons ($22 million) as compared to 9,965 tons ($27 million) while it was 11,115 tons ($30 million) in April 2012. Total tea imports in 2011-2012 stood at 123,893 tons ($351 million) as compared to 118,657 tons ($334 million) in 2010-2011.
Imports of palm oil, which was 156,283 tons ($173 million) in April 2012 reached to 209,837 tons ($240 million) and in June it rose to 211,032 tons ($243 million).
Total imports of palm oil in 2011-2012 rose to 2,108,727 tons ($2.4 billion) as compared to 1,951,066 tons ($2 billion) in 2010-2011.
Soyabean oil imports in June 2012 swelled to 7,060 tons ($9.2 million) as compared to 95 tons ($153,000) in May 2012 and 65 tons ($99,000) in April 2012. Total imports in 2011-2012 fell to 39,519 tons ($51 million) as compared to 66,425 tons ($67 million) in 2010-2011.
Leading producers of ghee and cooking had announced price discount in their products for the holy month but it did not hold any importance as they had already increased the prices.
Demand of ghee and cooking oil usually rises by 30 per cent during Ramazan for which manufacturers made higher imports of palm oil and soyabean oil.
Ghee production in July-May 2011-2012 rose to 1,019,237 tons as compared to 998,204 in same period of last fiscal year while cooking oil production also went up to 293,004 tons from 284,311 tons. Import of pulses in June 2012 surged to 83,615 tons ($56 million) as compared to 81,313 tons ($57 million) in May and 54,383 tons ($38 million) in April. Total imports in 2011-2012 rose to $667,231 tons ($433 million) as compared to 637,367 tons ($403 million) in 2010-2011.
Spices imports in April 2012 plunged to 4,949 tons ($5.1 million) as compared 8,936 tons ($9.2 million) in May while in April 2012 its import was 10,023 tons ($9.7 million). Overall spices imports in 2011-2012 slightly went up 115,619 tons ($101 million) 109,190 tons ($104 million) in 2010-2011.
Sugar is also being imported despite increase in its local production. In June 2012, a total of 1,172 tons ($893,000) arrived as compared to 1,143 tons ($953,000) in May 2012 while it was 293 tons ($276,000) in April 2012. Total sugar imports in 2011-2012 dropped sharply to 19,710 tons ($15.4 million) as compared to 1,031,919 tons ($684 million) in 2010-2011.
Local sugar production surged to 4,627,411 tons in July-May 2011-2012 as compared to 4,131,909 tons in the corresponding period of last fiscal year. As a result sugar prices fell in the last one year.
Pakistan also exported 45,844 tons of sugar in 2011-2012 as compared to zero exports in 2010-2011.