ISLAMABAD-The government has missed the exports target by $4.8 billion in last fiscal year mainly due to Covid-19 pandemic that halted the economic activities in different countries of the world.

Pakistan’s exports were recorded at $21.387 billion in fiscal year 2019-20 as against the target of $26.187 billion. The exports had not reached at the level of preceding year. In 2019-20, exports were recorded at $21.387 billion as compared to $22.958 billion of 2018-19, showing a decline of 6.84 percent in previous year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The ministry of commerce had already attributed decline in exports due to Covid-19 pandemic. Pakistan’s exports were on an upward trajectory and it showed an increase of 14 percent in dollar value terms as compared to the same month last year before the outbreak of the pandemic near the end of February 2020. In mid March, because of a lockdown to control the spread of the pandemic, followed by a global economic slowdown, the export-oriented industry in Pakistan suffered.

The PBS data showed that government had controlled the imports. Pakistan’s imports had recorded at $44.57 billion in fiscal year 2019-20 as compared to the target of $53.664 billion. The imports had also reduced due to coronavirus. Meanwhile, government’s corrective measures also helped slow down imports to reduce pressures on foreign exchange reserves. Massive decline in imports helped in reducing the trade deficit of the country. The country’s trade deficit also came down by 27.41 percent in the FY20 from a year ago. In absolute terms, the trade gap narrowed to $23.099 billion in July-June from $31.805 billion over the corresponding months last year.

According to the data, the country’s exports have registered a decline of 6.52 percent in the month of June 2020. The country has exported goods worth of $1.592 billion in June 2020 as compared to $1.703 billion in preceding month, May. However, the imports have tumbled by around 14.66 percent. Imports were recorded at $3.715 billion in June 2020, which was around $4.353 billion in May 2020. The reduction in imports has resulted in increase in trade deficit by 19.89 percent during the month of June this year over May. Pakistan’s trade deficit was recorded at $2.123 billion in the month of June 2019 as compared to $2.65 billion in the previous month, May.

In the Annual Plan 2020-21, the exports are projected to reach at $22,714 million in fiscal year 2020-21 from $22,369 million estimated for 2019-20. On account of positive growth trajectory, imports are expected to slightly increase by 1.1 percent and reach the level of $ 42,412 million in 2020-21 from an estimated total of $41,943 million for 2019-20, implying trade deficit of $19,698 million in 2020-21. Although exports and remittances inflows are expected to recover slightly but the current account deficit is projected to increase due to rise in imports. The current account deficit is projected to be at US$ 4,447 million (1.6 percent of GDP) during 2020-21 as against estimated deficit of US$ 3,882 million (1.5 percent of GDP) by the end of 2019-20.