ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s trade deficit widened by 42.57 per cent to $16.10 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year (2011-2012) as compared to same period of last year, revealed the official figures on Tuesday.

According to the latest figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country’ trade imbalance was recorded at $16.10 billion in July-March period of 2011-2012 against $11.29 billion in July-March period of 2010-2011.

Independent economists and trade analysts had projected that trade deficit could go to around $19 to $20 billion at the end of current fiscal year, well above the government target of $14 billion due to the higher imports that are increasing mainly due to high oil prices in international market.

On the other hand, country’s exports are also on the declining side due to several reasons and the independent economists and trade analysts believe that the government is most likely to miss the exports target of $25 billion set for the ongoing financial year.

The PBS figures revealed that country’s exports had registered negative growth of over three per cent during the first nine months of the ongoing fiscal year, as these were recorded at $17.19 billion in the period under review against $17.73 billion in same period last year. On the other hand, country’s imports increased by 14.71 per cent in one year, as these wereh recorded at $33.29 billion in July-March 2011-2012 against $29.02 billion of July-March 2010-2011.

Meanwhile, according to the PBS figures, the overall exports showed negative growth of 1.62 per cent in March 2012 if compare with the exports of February 2012. The country exported goods worth of $2.00 billion in March 2012 against $ 2.03 billion of February 2012. However, the imports went up by 1.01 per cent in March 2012 against February 2012, as the country imported goods worth of $3.497 billion during the last month as compared to $3.462 billion of February 2012. Therefore, the country’s trade imbalance increased by 4.76 per cent in March 2012 against February 2012. The country’s trade deficit was recoded at $1.496 billion in March 2012 against $1.428 billion of February 2012.

According to the PBS figures, exports stood at $2.001 billion in March 2012, which were $2.463 billion in March 2011 and this showed 18.76 per cent decline in exports in one year. Imports increased by 2.34 per cent and totalled to $3.497 billion in March 2012 against $3.417 billion of March 2011. The trade deficit for March 2012 against March 2011 increased by 56.81 per cent and was recorded at $ 1.496 billion.