ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has spent $8.842 billion on importing petroleum products in seven months (July-January) of the ongoing financial year 2012-2013.

According to the latest figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Thursday, imports of petroleum products increased by 0.87 per cent to $8.842 billion during July-January period of 2012-2013 as against $8.766 billion of the corresponding period of previous year. The break-up of $8.842 billion oil import bill revealed that country has spent $5.615 billion on petroleum products and $3.227 billion on import of petroleum crude during the first seven months of ongoing financial year 2012-2013.

Petroleum import has occupied more than one-third of the country’s total imports of $25.885 billion during seven months from July to January. The phenomenon of increased imports stemmed from the effect of the circular debt’s problem, which is piling up. Only imports of petroleum and its products caused a flight of $8.842 billion in seven months, which is so precious for the cash-strapped economy of Pakistan at present when its foreign exchange reserves are under severe pressure. The country’s foreign exchange reserves decline to $13.40 billion on February 14 while Pakistan still has to repay over one billion dollars to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) till June 30 this year.

Analysts said that the country should ensure energy supply through own resources; otherwise the oil import bill would affect the country’s fiscal position.

The PBS figures revealed that country imported foodstuff worth of $2.604 billion during July-January period of the year 2012-13. The break-up of $2.604 billion revealed that import bill of milk products went down by 9.21 per cent, dry fruits and nuts import down by 4.7pc, import of tea increased by 9.60 per cent, import of spices decreased by 33.28 per cent, soybean oil’s imports enhanced by 13.36 per cent, palm oil import decreased by 16.16 per cent, sugar import declined by 78 per cent, import of pulses went down by 8.91 per cent and import of all other food items decreased by 18.68 per cent during the period under review.

Meanwhile, according to PBS figures, the country imported machinery worth of $3.367 billion, transport group imports stood at $ 1.103 billion, textile group $1.427 billion, agricultural and other chemicals $3.678 billion, metal group $1.813 billion, miscellaneous group imports were recorded at $470 million and all other items imports remained $2.378 billion during July-January period of 2012-13 against July-January period of 2011-12.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s textile exports registered handsome growth of over 8.39 per cent in July-January period of the ongoing fiscal year 2012-2013 and were recorded at $ 7.510 billion compared with $ 6.929 billion of the same period last year.

According to figures, in textiles group, the product-wise details showed that raw cotton exports went down by 56.57 per cent in July-January period of the ongoing fiscal year, cotton yarn exports increased by 32.44 per cent, cotton cloth 12.18 per cent, cotton carded exports declined by 84.53 per cent, yarn exports went up by 31.48 per cent, knitwear exports reduced by 0.92 per cent, bed-wear exports decreased by 3.801 per cent, towels exports enhanced by 18.02 per cent, tents 35.13 per cent, readymade garments 12.51 per cent, art silk and synthetic textile exports reduced by 17.73 per cent, made-up articles were down by 5.81 per cent and other textile materials exports increased by 56.80 per cent in July-January period of 2012-13 against the July-January 2011-12 period, said the PBS data.

Meanwhile, the figures revealed that the country’s food exports also registered an increased of 8.91 per cent in July-January period of the ongoing fiscal year 2012-13.

The break-up of food group exports revealed that rice exports went down by 5.58 per cent in the period under review, fish exports went up by 3.43 per cent, fruits exports enhanced by 1.54 per cent, vegetables exports increased by 53.67 per cent, pulses exports reduced by 64.05 per cent, tobacco exports reduced by 29.82 per cent, wheat exports declined by 57.72 per cent, spices exports increased by 33.42 per cent, oil seeds export increased by 32.75 per cent, sugar 100 per cent, meat 41.49 per cent and all other food items exports reduced by 13.08 per cent in the period under review.

Meanwhile, in other manufactures group, exports of carpets, rugs and mats decreased by 5.66 per cent, sports goods exports increased by 0.31 per cent and leather exports went up by 1.99 per cent during July-January period of the current fiscal year. Similarly, the engineering goods exports declined by over 50 per cent in July-December period of the current fiscal year against the same period last year.

According to PBS figures, country’s exports increased by 7.24 per cent on year-on-year basis. Pakistan exported goods worth $14.068 billion in July-January period of year 2012-2013 as compared to $13.118 billion of the corresponding period last year. On the other hand, imports plunged by 2.44 per cent to $25.685 billion in July-January period of ongoing financial year as compared to $26.327 billion of the corresponding period last year. The trade deficit shrank by 12 per cent to $11.617 billion during July to January period of the financial year 2012-2013 as against $13.209 billion of the corresponding period of last fiscal year.