ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s oil import bill has reduced by $333 million in November over the corresponding period last year mainly due to the continuous decline in oil prices in international market.

The country had imported petroleum products worth of $969.6 million in November 2014 as against $1.302 billion in the corresponding period last year recording a decline of 25.56 percent, showed the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The break-up of $969.6 million showed that country imported petroleum products worth of $670 million in November 2014 as compared to $853 million of the same period of previous year depicting decline of 21.39 percent. Meanwhile, import of petroleum crude ate $299 million.

Being an oil importer, Pakistan benefited from the decline in global oil prices that come down to around $60 a barrel. An official of Commerce Ministry informed that oil import bill would further decelerate in next couple of months. “Oil import can be reduced by $2-3 billion during ongoing financial year,” he told The Nation on Thursday.

The oil import bill could further decrease if government did not suspend gas supply to the CNG stations due to the severe shortage of gas in the country. Due to the closure of CNG stations in winter season, the petrol replaced the gas supply to CNG. The government had decided to suspend gas supply to CNG sector of Punjab for four months starting from November 15 to March 15, 2015.

Earlier, it was expected that oil import bill could accelerate when government suspended the gas supply to the CNG stations. However, continuously decline in oil prices in international market helped in reducing the country’s the import bill.

According to the PBS figures, Pakistan has imported petroleum products worth of $6.11 billion during five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year 2014-15 as against $6.46 billion of the same period last year registering a cut of 5.37 percent. The break-up of oil import bill in July-November $6.11 billion showed that country imported petroleum products worth of $3.86 billion and petroleum crude $2.25 billion.

The government in Annual Plan 2014-15 had set oil import bill target at $15.68 billion for the present fiscal year. However, the aforesaid bill could be lowered than the targeted level due to the continuous decline in oil prices in international market. Therefore, the country’s current account deficit would narrow down considerably, its balance-of-payments position is bound to improve significantly, reduce the fiscal deficit during ongoing fiscal year.

The PBS figures showed that In July-Nov 2014, overall imports reached $20.37 billion against $18.11 billion over the corresponding period of last year, reflecting an increase of 12.50 per cent. Contrary to this, exports witnessed a negative growth of 4.19 per cent, as its value fell to $9.92 billion in July-Nov period this year as against $10.35 billion over the corresponding months of last year. Therefore, the trade deficit reached to $10.45 billion in July-November 2014 from $7.75 billion over the corresponding period of last year.