ISLAMABAD-Despite challenging global environment, the country’s external account position remained stable during the fiscal year 2020. The current account deficit continued to narrow, even though both exports and imports have fallen sharply since the coronavirus outbreak, official document revealed. During FY2020, current account deficit was reduced by 77.9 per cent to $ 2.9 billion (1.1 per cent of GDP) against $ 13.4 billion last year (4.8 per cent of GDP). The exports from the country declined by 7.2 per cent to $22.5 billion during FY2020 compared to exports of $ 24.3 billion last year, it said adding that the exports values were suppressed due to weak terms of trade, despite significantly higher quantum exports. 

On the other hand, Imports declined by 18.2 per cent to $ 42.4 billion as compared to $ 51.9 billion last year. Consequently, trade deficit reduced by 27.9 per cent to $ 19.9 billion against the deficit of $ 27.6 billion last year. Export of services declined by 8.6 per cent to $ 5.4 billion as compared $5.9 billion last year while the import of Services declined by 24.3 per cent and was recorded at $ 8.3 billion compared to $ 10.9 billion last year. Quoting Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), it said the textile sector exports decreased by 6.0 per cent in value over the last year while Basmati rice registered a growth of 35  per cent (quantity) and 24.6  per cent (value). Other varieties of rice decreased by 5.3 per cent (quantity) and 3.5 per cent (value). 

The Petroleum group import is recorded at $ 10.4 billion (share of 23.4 per cent in total imports) decreased by 27.8 per cent (value), of which import of petroleum crude decreased by 40.4 per cent (value) and 24.5 per cent (quantity). Import of petroleum product increased by 3.7 per cent (quantity) and declined by 24.5 per cent (value). It is pertinent to mention that despite being confronted with multifaceted challenges, Pakistan’s economy witnessed significant improvement in some of its sectors during Fiscal Year 2020. The sectors that showed positive improvements included external account, which had been stabilized with current account deficit reduced by 78 per cent. Likewise, the workers’ remittances surged to a historic high level of $23.1 billion during FY2020 compared to $21.7 billion during FY2019, witnessing a growth of 6.5 per cent and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increased by 88 per cent and reached $ 2.6 billion during FY2020 as compared to $ 1.4 billion in FY2019.