Saturday July 02, 2022

Trade deficit widens to massive $35.4bn in July-March

By Our Correspondent
April 05, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The trade gap widened to a massive 70.14 percent to $35.393 billion in July-March, the government data showed on Monday, mainly due to rising energy import cost.

During the first nine months of current 2021/22 fiscal year, imports surged to $58.691 while exports remained at $23.298 billion, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported.

In same period last fiscal, imports were at $39.489 billion and exports at $18.687 billion. This depicts 24.67 percent growth in exports and 48.63 percent increase in imports.

Analysts said “there's a big likelihood the trade deficit will expand further."

“The two biggest items contributing to the rise in imports cost were oil, liquefied natural gas,” an analyst said.

"The recent increase in crude oil prices beyond $110/barrel and simultaneous revival of domestic demand pose headwinds to trade balance as import bill will likely remain elevated.

The exports increased by 15.91 percent during March 2022 as compared to the exports of same month of last year.

The exports during March 2022 were recorded at $2.740 billion against the exports of $2.364 billion in March 2021.

The imports increased to $6.186 billion in March 2022 from $5.631 billion in March 2021, showing growth of 9.86 percent.

Former commerce advisor Razzak Dawood earlier said the country’s exports “are in line with the targets and will meet the yearly target”. The country’s exporters are maintaining exports momentum under these testing times prevailing in the global market, he said.

On month-on-month basis, the exports from

the country witnessed negative growth of 2.84 percent during March 2022 as compared to the

exports of $2.820 billion recorded during February 2022.

On the other hand, the imports into the country during March 2022 witnessed increase of 4.72 percent as compared to the imports of $5.907 billion in February 2022.

Muzzammil Aslam, former spokesperson to the Finance Minister said in a tweet that “a wonderful news despite the higher oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal prices, import bill still well managed for the month of March at $6.19 billion”.

Aslam said exports first time making a history to cross $31 billion.

The trade deficit reached an all-time high of $37.7 billion in FY18.

However, the government’s measures led to a drop in it to $31.8 billion in FY19 and $23.183 billion in FY20.