KARACHI - Out of total imports, the Y-o-Y growth of imports' quantum in four major items has decreased sharply during seven months of current fiscal. However, the quantum in the food and petroleum groups import remained intact and high during July-January FY09 despite a slowdown in the international oil and other commodity prices. In July-January 2008-09 imports trend in the commodities like machinery, transport, textile and metal declined in the backdrop of drastic fall in global prices which has started providing a certain degree of respite for the country's trade deficit, boosting the balance of payments position since December 2008. However, the price impact of this deceleration in imports has yet to be realized fully during the upcoming months of ongoing fiscal. Nonetheless, it is expected that price impact will become more evident in coming months as the current import contracts are structured at new and lower international prices. According to latest sector-wise foreign trade statistics, the machinery group's imports declined to 3.126 billion dollars during Jul-Jan FY09 as against 3.228 billion dollars in the corresponding period of last fiscal. Similarly, in transport group Pakistan had spent total 608.133 million dollars on the import of all road motor vehicles ranging from busses to motor cars, motor cycles and aircrafts including their parts and others transport equipments over 681.939 million dollars during the same period of FY08. The declining impact in import quantum of the textile group is quite visible as most of the items and commodities in this sector depicted negative growth in over all imports. The textile related imports slumped to 775.176 million dollars in July-January 2008-09 from 1.023 billion dollars of last financial year. In metal group, imports dropped to 1.129 billion dollars during the course of FY09 from 1.283 billion dollars in the reporting period of FY08. Keeping this development in view, foreign trade experts see the decrease in trade deficit and decline in the import growth of major commodities a positive sign and an indication of improvement in balance of payment outlook. But there are certain risk and vulnerabilities being posed stress to the macroeconomic stability. First, the decline in trade deficit, which is anticipated on account of a fall in imports, may prove to be less than expectations for two reasons: (i) there has been a considerable deceleration in growth of exports due to global recession and the domestic structural bottlenecks featuring intermittent power and gas supplies; (ii) the anticipated decline in oil import bill may turn out to be less than the current projections. If the water availability during the summer season is less than what is required, the pressure to increase electricity supply using thermal sources would necessitate higher fuel imports. This could reduce the benefit envisaged in the form of a lower oil import bill. Meanwhile trade deficit of the country had grown by marginally 3.57 percent, to 10.727 billion dollars during July-January 2008-09 from 10.357 billion dollars in July-January 2007-08 on year-on-year basis amid continued rise in the imports growth and slow-than-projected growth in exports. The official data showed nominal growth in import trade, executed during the period under review which increased to 21.661 billion dollars up by 5.77 percent compared to 20.479 billion dollars in July-January 2008-09 while exports increased by 8.2 percent to 10.934 billion dollars in the reported period of FY09 versus 10.122 billion dollars during the same period of FY08.