LAHORE -  The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has expressed its concerns over the alarming rise in the trade deficit of the country during the first seven months of the ongoing fiscal year.

According to recent economic reports, Pakistan’s external sector is facing increased pressure as its trade deficit has alarmingly widened by 28.7 percent to reach $17.4 billion during the period July 2016 to January 2017 due to a continuous decline in exports and double-digit growth in imports.

The deficit has already risen by $3.9 billion which is 28.7 percent more than the previous year’s comparative period, as the exports plunged 3.2 percent to total $11.7 billion during July-January.

In comparison, Pakistan’s imports increased by 13.7 percent to reach $29.1 billion in the same period. In absolute terms, the import bill was $3.5 billion more than the previous year.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has revealed that the country has breached its limits by booking a trade-deficit of $17.42-billion in seven months, which is already equivalent to 85 percent of the country’s annual target. Exports during these seven months were less than half of the yearly target, while imports have already reached two-thirds of the annual projections.