Pak govt. fails to improve business environment as trade deficit continues to grow

Karachi [Pakistan], Jan. 10 : Even as the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) led government is claiming record economic progress in the country, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has reported that the yearly decline in exports entered into its eleventh straight quarter in the September -December 2016 period.

According to a PBS report, during July-December 2016, the trade deficit jumped 22.2 percent to USD 14.59 billion, the largest imbalance since August 2016, reports the Daily Times.

Trade deficit in December widened by 35.68 percent to Rs 2.86 billion while balance of trade in Pakistan averaged Rs 2.9 billion from 1957 until 2016, reaching an all time high of Rs 6457 million in June 2003 and a record low of Rs 2.9 billion in June 2016.

The trade deficit in first half of fiscal year 2016-17 (FY17) rose to the second highest level in 2016 as imports increased, while Pakistani exports fell for eleventh quarter consecutively.

"With uncertain recovery in demand from developed economies and China (as its economy undergoes a structural transformation), Pakistan's export performance is not likely to improve unless our exporters improve their competitiveness, adopt innovative production methods, and diversify their products and markets', said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in its quarterly report for first quarter FY17.

According to PBS data, the country's exports remained on lower trajectory, showing 3.82 percent yearly decline to USD 9.9 billion in first half of FY17, as compared to USD 10.3 billion in corresponding period of FY16.

Similarly, import bill surged by 10.11 percent, as the total import receipts of the country settled at USD 24.4 billion in said period while it was USD 22.1 billion in same period of previous fiscal.

In the month of December 2016, trade deficit surged by enormous 35.68 percent to USD 2.76 billion as compared to the trade deficit of USD 2.03 billion in December 2015.

The exports from the country to the world witnessed 3.09 percent decline in the month of December 2016 to USD 1.72 billion as against USD 1.78 billion of December 2015 while imports increased by 17.58 percent in December 2016 to USD 4.48 billion against USD 3.81 billion in December 2015.

Source: ANI