ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s trade gap with the rest of the world witnessed a growth of over 36 per cent in 2011-12 over previous year because of increase in imports and fall in exports.
The trade balance in the outgoing fiscal year swelled to $21.271 billion from $15.604 billion in the previous year, suggested data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.
In the last year’s budget, the government had projected trade deficit at $17.292 billion for 2011-12 which surpassed even $4 billion mark. The surge was mainly driven by import of consumer goods and higher international crude oil prices.
Import bill of edible oil and consumer durables also increased during the year. This surge in consumer durables is the outcome of fall in customs duty on automobiles, deep- freezers, air-conditioners and beverages.
The government has forecast trade deficit at $17.126 billion as economy raises demand for manufacturing and oil imports. The oil and eatable imports bill is also expected to swell to $19 billion in the year 2012-13.
Pakistan’s current account deficit widened to a provisional $3.77 billion in the first 11 months of 2011-12. Although remittances recorded growth during the outgoing fiscal year, these did not help reduce current account deficit.
Exports fell to $23.641 billion in 2011-12 from $24.810 billion over the previous year, showing a decline of 4.71 per cent. In June, exports dropped by 11.60 per cent to $2.141 billion as against $2.422 billion same month last year.
The government has projected an export target of $25.618 billion for the current fiscal year. This target was projected on the back of a claim that Pakistan’s textile and clothing exports could reach over $15 billion for the year 2011-12.
But contrary to this, export proceeds from textile and clothing are witnessing a steady decline and have hardly touched figure of $13 billion. The decline in exports is attributed to negative effect of energy shortages and slowdown in global demand. On the other hand, import bill went up by 11.13 per cent to $44.912 billion in the outgoing fiscal year as against $40.414 billion last year.
On a monthly basis, imports in June reached $3.979 billion as against $3.863 billion over the same month last year, showing an increase of three per cent.