ISLAMABAD- Pakistan’s oil imports declined by 24.56 percent in first four months (July to October) of the current fiscal year, easing pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

The country’s oil imports were recorded at $3.15 billion in July to October period of 2020-21 as compared to $4.18 billion in corresponding period of the last year, showing decline of 24.56 percent, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The reduction in oil imports is helping in easing pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves. The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $20.085 billion despite massive repayment against previous loans. Foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan are $12.931 billion and net foreign reserves held by commercial banks are $7.154 billion.

On the other hand, the current account surplus is also easing pressure on foreign exchange reserves of the country. Since July, the cumulative current account surplus has reached $1.2 billion, reversing the $1.4 billion deficit recorded in the same period last year, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said.

The PBS data showed the breakup of oil imports bill as petroleum product imports declined by 50 percent in the first four months. Meanwhile, import of crude oil had gone down by 26.13 percent. Similarly, import of liquefied natural gas fell by 46.14 percent. However, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imports increased by 54.09 percent in value in July-October.

Meanwhile, machinery imports went down 6.29 percent to $2.63 billion in the first four months from $2.80 billion. The decline in imports was recorded for almost all kinds of machinery except mobile phones. Import of mobile phones had increased by 43.6 percent in four months and recorded at $556.78 million. Import of other apparatus fell by 9.73 percent. The overall transport group also witnessed a contraction of 4.83 percent. An increase of 56.80 percent was seen in imports of textile group — raw cotton, synthetic and artificial silk yarn. Overall food group import jumped by 43.49 percent to $2.27 billion during the first four months this year against $1.58 billion from a year ago. 

According to the PBS data, Pakistan’s overall imports were recorded at $15.19 billion in July to October period of the current fiscal year showing decline of 0.38 percent in corresponding period of the previous year. On the other hand, the country’s exports had shown an increase of 0.62 percent and recorded at $7.58 billion in four months of the year 2020-21 as compared to $7.53 billion in same period of last year. Therefore, the trade deficit has shrunk by 1.36 percent to $7.62 percent in the period under review.