ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s trade deficit widened to $14.5 billion during the first half of the ongoing fiscal year due to a steep decline in exports and double-digit growth in imports, torpedoing the government’s external account projections.
The gap between exports and imports during July-December period of fiscal year 2016-17 stood at $14.5 billion, reported the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Monday. The trade deficit was alarmingly 71% of the annual projections of $20.5 billion, suggesting that the government will face serious problems in meeting its external account targets.
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The exports plunged 3.82% to $9.9 billion during July-December period of this year, which was $394 million less than the exports made in the comparative period of the previous year. Compared to this, the import bill increased 10.2% to almost $24.4 billion in the same period. In absolute terms, the import bill was $2.24 billion more than the previous year.
In comparison to the $14.5 billion trade deficit during the first half of this year, the gap in the comparative period of the previous year was $11.9 billion, according to the PBS. The first-half trade deficit was $2.63 billion or 22.2% more than the previous year.
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For fiscal year 2016-17, the government has projected exports would grow to $24.75 billion and imports bill may remain at $45.2 billion by end of this fiscal year. It had projected $20.5 billion trade deficit for the whole fiscal year. However, the six-month result showed that the deficit may touch $24 billion by end of the fiscal year, as the trade deficit in July-December period was 70.7% of the annual target.
The government closed the last fiscal year 2015-16 at an eight-year low level of exports, which dropped to $20.8 billion despite preferential access to European markets. The exports have been declining since the current government took over, falling from $24.5 billion in 2012-13.
Courtesy : Express Tribune