ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan’s trade deficit swelled by over two percent in first quarter (July to September) of the current fiscal year due to reduction in exports and increase in imports of the country.

The country’s trade deficit was recorded at $5.8 billion in July to September period of the year 2020-21 as compared to $5.69 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released on Monday. Trade deficit has widened after a long time due to massive decline in exports and increase in imports of the country. Pakistan’s exports have declined by 0.94 percent to $5.46 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. Meanwhile, the country’s imports have recorded minor increase of 0.56 percent and swelled to $11.26 billion. Therefore, the trade deficit was recorded at $5.8 billion in July to September period of the year 2020-21.

“Alhamdolillah, the export figures for Sep 2020 have shown improvement. As compared to Sep 2019, our exports have grown 6% to USD 1.872 billion. Although this is better than decrease of 15% in Aug 2020, I still feel that with sufficient backlog of orders we can do much better,” the Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said on Twitter. He added, “Besides executing current orders I urge the exporters to pursue more orders from existing markets and reach out to untapped markets. I am hopeful that in October 2020 we will have further growth”.

According to the PBS data, the country’s exports have registered growth of 6.12 percent in the month of September 2020. The country has exported goods worth $1.83 billion in September 2020 as compared to $1.77 billion in the same period of the previous year. Meanwhile, the imports have enhanced by around 13.22 percent. Imports were recorded at $4.26 billion in last month, which were around $3.77 billion in the same month of the previous year. The increase in imports and exports has resulted in swelling in trade deficit by 19.49 percent during the month of September this year. Pakistan’s trade deficit was recorded at $2.39 billion in the month of September 2019 as compared to $2.001 billion in the same month of previous year.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its recent report projected that exports are expected to grow in FY2021 with the likely pickup in economic activity in Pakistan’s major trade partners, and as Pakistan’s exports become more competitive thanks to government measures to reduce business costs. Imports will rebound from a low base in FY2020 and, more importantly, in response to economic recovery in FY2021—and despite higher tariffs on imports of nonessential goods.