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In the first quarter of FY22, the trade deficit with the area widened

ISLAMABAD: In the first quarter of the current fiscal year (1QFY22), Pakistan’s exports to nine regional nations increased by 31.56 percent, while imports increased by almost 43 percent, according to the latest figures issued by the State Bank of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives were $946.218 million in 1QFY22, accounting for just 13.5 percent of the country’s total worldwide exports of $6.997 billion.

Also read: In the first four months of FY22, auto sales increased significantly

In terms of Pakistan’s exports to its neighbours, China tops the list, leaving India and Bangladesh in second and third place, respectively. Pakistan’s border commerce with its far-flung neighbours, including as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and the Maldives, was conducted entirely by water.

Imports from these nations, on the other hand, increased by 42.6 percent to $4.128 billion in July-September this year, compared to $2.894 billion in the same period last year. Pakistan’s trade imbalance with the area widened throughout the period under review as a result of large imports.

Pakistan’s exports to China posted positive growth in July-Sept FY22. The bulk of the regional exports share, which accounts for 59pc, is with China while the remaining is for eight countries. Pakistan’s exports to China posted a growth of 69.7pc to $559.158 million in the first three months of this year from $329.421m in FY21. The increase in export proceeds was noted in the post-Covid period, especially the exports of rice.

Contrary to this, imports from China grew 43.6pc to $4.012bn during the period under review against $2.793bn over the last year. The bulk of 97.1pc imports is coming from China alone while remaining imports are from other eight countries.

Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan posted a negative growth of 39.17pc to $127.647m in FY22 from $209.868m in the same period in FY21. The decline in exports to Afghanistan is mainly due to uncertainty in the post-Taliban takeover of Kabul and subsequent issues in banking channels. Till a few years ago, Afghanistan was the second major export destination for Pakistan after the United States.

Imports from Afghanistan posted growth of 88.49pc to $33.589m against $17.820m over the last year mainly driven by higher arrivals of essential kitchen items including tomatoes, potatoes and onions as well as fresh and dried fruits. In the post-Taliban period, government has facilitated imports at Torkham as well as Chaman border stations especially of essential food items including fruits and vegetables.

Also read: Pakistan’s budget deficit decreased in the first quarter of FY22

The country’s exports to India plunged 90.4pc to $0.099m this year from $1.035m in FY21. The imports from India dipped 14.9pc to $42.502m against $49.947m over the last year. The government has suspended trade relations with New Delhi. Since the arrival of Covid-19 pandemic, the government has only allowed import of pharmaceutical products from India.

Pakistan’s exports to Iran at the official channel were not recorded in the first three months of the current fiscal year. Most of the trade with Tehran is carried out through informal channels via the border areas of Balochistan. No imports were made from Tehran during the period under review.

Exports to Bangladesh increased 37.57pc to $175.389m in the first three months of FY22 from $127.487m. Imports from Dhaka posted growth of 43.96pc to $17.446m this year against $12.118m over the last year.

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