ISLAMABAD-Pakistan’s exports have tumbled by around 20 per cent in the month of August mainly due to the heavy rains in different parts of the country.

The exports for the month of August 2020 have recorded a downfall of 19.5 per cent in dollar value terms as compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, the imports have also dropped by 20 per cent in the same month. Therefore, the trade deficit has also shrunk by 20.6 per cent in August 2020 against the same month of previous year. This was discussed in an internal review meeting at Ministry of Commerce chaired by the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood. However, the ministry has not shared the absolute numbers of exports, imports and trade deficit.

It was told in the meeting that due to heavy rains in the country, there were some delays in obtaining and analysing the data. It was further discussed in the meeting that the rains and consequential urban flooding, particularly in Karachi, caused significant problems in the existing infrastructure, disrupting the supply chains and affecting the exports for the month of August. Power outages, slowdown in business activities, delays in transportation and hampering of port operations are some of the issues faced by the exporters due to unprecedented monsoon rains in the country.

Talking in the meeting, the Advisor hoped that the exports would begin to recover in September as normalcy should return to Karachi. Advisor noted that although exports have temporarily fallen, the trade balance continues to improve. “Exporters are encouraged that despite the calamity of rain and flooding, we must pursue ‘Make in Pakistan’ and export led growth”, stated the Advisor. “I have confidence in our exporters that they will make up for the loss in the subsequent months”, he added.

Dawood directed that the Ministry of Commerce must resolve the issues of the exporters on war-footings in these unprecedented times.

Despite the decline in August, some of the products, like tractors, iron and steel, chemicals and cement have posted a growth of 186 per cent, 100 per cent, 90 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, in dollar value terms, as compared to August 2019.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan’s exports had shown growth in the first month of current fiscal year. According to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country’s exports had shown an increase of 6 per cent and recorded at $2 billion in the month of July 2020 as compared to $1.89 billion in the same period of previous year. On the other hand, imports have fallen by 0.7 per cent to $3.69 billion in July this year. Meanwhile, trade deficit had recorded at $1.69 billion in July 2020 as against $1.83 billion in the same month of last year showing decline of 7.72 percent.