ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's oil and food import bill has increased by nearly 20 percent on annual basis to $18.6 billion in the first eleven months (July to May) of the current fiscal year owing to an increase in global prices of crude oil and grains.

The massive increase in oil and food import bill has pushed the overall import bill to $55.2 billion during eleven months. The increase in imports has widened the trade deficit by 13.4 percent in one year. The trade deficit has recorded at $33.89 billion during July to May period of FY2018 as against $29.9 billion of the corresponding period of the previous year.

According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country spent $12.9 billion on imports of petroleum group, which is 30.43 percent higher over a year ago. In petroleum products, the government had imported petroleum products worth $6.8 billion and spent $3.7 billion on petroleum crude.

Similarly, the country had imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) worth $2.12 billion and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) worth $258 million.

Another biggest component was food commodities whose imports rose to $5.71 billion. This increase can be attributed to massive imports of spices, which went up 19.82 percent to $153.5 million followed by the rise of 11.24 pc in the imports of soyabean oil food items amounting to $125 million.

Meanwhile, import of milk products rose by 8.07 percent to $251.7 million while that of tea surged by 6.76pc to $524 million. On the other hand, the import of pulses dropped by 46.53pc to $482.7 million during July to May period of the ongoing fiscal year. Meanwhile, the country had spent $10.6 billion on importing machinery during first eleven months of the ongoing financial year, which is 2.2 percent lower than the import of the corresponding period of the last year.

Import of power generating machinery recorded at $2.48 billion, electrical machinery cost $2 billion and other machinery increased by 7.57 percent to $3.33 billion. The import bill of construction machinery went down by 27.71pc. The import bill of the telecom sector has increased by 11.77pc.