Pakistan News

Exports to nine regional states dip 18pc

Exports to nine regional states dip 18pc

ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be a steady decline, Pakistan’s exports to nine regional countries shrank 18.28 per cent in the first eight months of FY23 mainly driven by a drop in shipments to China, data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) showed on Thursday.

The decline is not confined to exports but imports especially from China also saw a deep decline during the current fiscal year. As part of government austerity measures, imported containers are awaiting clearance as the opening of letters of credit for consumers’ goods is the least priority of the government.

The country’s exports to Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives dipped to $2.414 billion — just 12.92pc of Pakistan’s total exports of $ in July-February FY23.

China tops the list of Pakistan’s regional exports leaving other populous countries India and Bangladesh behind. But Pakistan’s exports to China posted negative growth in the first 8MFY23 on a year-on-year basis. The bulk of the regional exports share, which accounts for 55.26pc, is with China while the remaining is for eight countries.

Pakistan’s exports to China declined 27.53pc to $1.334 in July-Feb FY23 from $1.841bn in 8MFY22. The decrease in export proceeds was noted for the first time in the post-Covid period. However, the imports from China also declined by 37.38pc to $7.066bn on a year-on-year basis during the months under review.

Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan posted a positive growth of 17pc to $346.52m in July-Feb from $296.10m in July-Feb 2021. Till a few years ago, Afghanistan was the second major export destination for Pakistan after the United States. The export figures did not include proceeds materialised through the land routes.

The exports to Afghanistan started to decline in August 2021. The government has allowed imports and exports from Afghanistan in the rupee in the post-Taliban regime period. The figures did not reflect those imports made in rupees.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2023

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