ISLAMABAD-Pakistan’s textile exports had dipped by 4.46 percent in March amid global slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s textile exports stood at $1.039 billion in March 2020 as compared to $1.088 billion in same month of previous year, according to latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Pakistan’s textile and clothing exports had jumped nearly 17 per cent year-on-year in February. However, in March, the textile exports had declined by 4.46 percent due to impact of coronavirus.

The reduction in textile’s exports had also declined country’s overall exports during month of March. The country’s export of goods had declined by 8.46 percent year-on-year to $1.807 billion in March, from $1.974 billion amid closure of retail outlets in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The PBS data showed that country’s textile exports had enhanced by 4.24 percent and recorded at $10.41 billion in nine months (July to March) of the current fiscal year.

Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood had recently projected that Pakistan’s exports are expected to decline by $ 3 billion due to the coronavirus during ongoing fiscal year. He said that there are substantial difficulties in exports due to Covid-19. Pakistan’s key exports are textile related. In textile sector, according to PBS, exports of knitwear had enhanced by 6.74 percent during the nine months of the current fiscal year over a year ago. Similarly, exports of bed wear had also recorded an increase of 2.45 percent. Meanwhile, exports of ready-made garments had also surged by 10.98 percent last financial year. The PBS data showed that exports of cotton cloth had recorded a decline of 2.99 percent. Similarly, exports of raw cotton increased by 8.19 percent. Exports of cotton yarn witnessed decrease of 1.9 percent. Meanwhile, exports of towels had increased by 0.58 percent. Meanwhile, the exports of food commodities had recorded increase of 1.43 percent during the nine months of the year 2019-20. In food commodities, exports of fruits recorded growth of 2.8 percent, vegetables exports increase by 53.66 percent.

The PBS data showed that the export proceeds edged up 2.23 percent to $17.451 billion during the first nine months of 2019-20, as against $17.071 billion over the corresponding period last year. Imports clocked in at $34.814 billion during July to March period of the year 2019-20, down 14.42 percent, from $40.679 billion in the same period last year. As a result, the trade deficit came down by 26.45 percent in the first nine months of 2019-20 mainly on the back of a double-digit fall in imports.

Pakistan’s oil import bill had slashed by over 16.14 percent in nine months of the current fiscal year due to the slowdown in economic activities of the country. Total oil imports amounted to $8.9 billion during July to March of the current year, compared to $10.61 billion during the same period last year. The breakup of $8.9 billion showed that import of petroleum products was recorded at $3.96 billion, petroleum crude at $2.45 billion and liquefied natural gas at $2.24 billion and liquefied petroleum gas at $245 million.

The reduction in import quantities of crude oil and petroleum products is a clear indication of reduced transportation and other economic activities in the country. This also suggests lower capacity utilisation of local oil refineries, compared to the last year, resultantly affecting their profitability. Imports of all major sectors had also declined during nine month of the current fiscal year.

Food imports had contracted by 7 percent to $3.96 billion in July-March period of 2019-20, from $4.26 billion in corresponding months last year. Import bill of the machinery clocked in at $6.63 billion, showing a decrease of 1.23 percent. However, transport group, another major contributor to the trade deficit, also receded decline during the period under review as it posted a 42.51 percent decline, with decrease in imported value of almost all subcategories. On the other hand, agriculture imports inched down by 15.22 percent to $5.58 billion from $6.58 billion on the back of 32.65 percent decrease in fertilizers.