ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s exports showed healthy growth of 24 percent in March over a year ago due to sharp rupee depreciation and provision of duty drawback.

Pakistan’s exports increased to $2.23 billion during March 2018. The current growth of 24 percent is highest in last four years in which the country’s exports tumbled to $20 billion from $25 billion.

However, the government recently allowed rupee depreciation against the US dollar, which helped in enhancing exports. “The initiatives by the government to provide duty drawback as well as the exchange range adjustments have contributed positively to the growth. Improved market access especially in the European market owing to the successful review of GSP Plus facility also played an important role,” the ministry of commerce said.

The highest year-on-year growth in a month was reached in March 2018, when the exports for the month reached USD 2,230 million, higher by 24% when compared with March 2017 and 17% when compared with February 2018. On the other hand, imports growth remained subdued at only 5% as compared to March 2017, which has also been one of the lowest growths in imports in the past many months.

Imports on the other hand are now finding their real value by improved exchange rate regime and regulatory duties on non-essential and luxury goods. However, imports remained under pressure due to continuation of oil prices on higher side. The increase in fuels imports (oil, coal and LNG) both in the terms of price as well as quantities keep the balance of trade around USD 3 billion for the month of March 2018, which is however 5.7% lower than March 2017 due to robust exports growth.