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ISLAMABAD: The country's exports remained lower by $ 4.75 billion from the target of $ 26. 2 billion set for the financial year 2019-20 due to low economic activity and government's policy of squeezing imports.

According to the provisional foreign trade figures of FY 2019-20, exports stood at $ 21.410 billion as compared to $ 22.979 billion of corresponding period of 2018-29, showing a decline of 6.83 percent.

Talking to Business Recorder, Prime Minister's Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said that exports have started bouncing back after showing negative trends for three to four months.

Economic Survey, 2019-20 had indicated that the export target of $ 26.2 billion for FY 2020 seems unlikely to be achieved.

Imports have posted a negative growth of 18.78 percent to $ 44.509 billion in 2019-20 from $ 54.799 billion in 2018-19. The trade balance has shrunk by 27.41 percent ($ 8.712 billion) to $ 23.099 billion in 2019-20 from $ 31.820 billion.

In June 2020, exports showed negative growth of 6.3 percent to $ 1.609 billion as compared to $ 1.1717 billion during the corresponding month of 2019 while imports posted a decline of 16.5 percent to $ 3.643 billion in June 2020 from $ 4.364 billion in the same month of 2019. Trade balance in June 2020 has shrunk by 23.2 percent to $ 2.034 billion in June 2020 from $ 2.647 billion in June 2019.

Talking to Business Recorder, Razak Dawood said that Current Account Deficit (CAD) declined by $ 8.7 billion (27.7 percent) due to a substantial decline in imports in comparison to a moderate decline in exports.

"The current trade figures indicate that Pakistan's exports are re-bouncing. When I talk to textile exporters, they say big exporters are coming back and exports are recovering now," Dawood added.

He said Pakistan's exports were showing growth till first week of March 2020, but after Covid -19 exports began to witness declining trend. He said, that now greater emphasis will be on product diversification, including engineering products , pharmaceuticals, agro products and services. He remarked that beginning of exports of home appliances and geographical diversification of cement export to China and the Philippines are clear signs of success.

"I am quite satisfied now - exports were down due to low economic activity and government policy of squeezing imports," he added.

The performance of country's top foreign exchange earner i.e. textile sector remained dismal as the export of cotton fabric posted negative growth of 10 percent, home textile negative 7 percent, men's garments negative 5 percent, cotton yarn posted negative 3 percent growth, made-up articles of textile materials - 4 percent. The export of fish and fish products showed a negative growth of 6 percent, fruits and vegetables negative 11 percent and tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709).

The following items posted growth: rice, 1 percent, warm clothing and clothing accessories, 415 percent, copper and articles thereof, 11 percent, meat 16 percent, made-up clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted, 230 percent, tracksuits, 9 percent, maize or corn, 2150 percent, tobacco and cigarettes 70 percent.

Top markets with increasing exports are the UAE (23 percent), Saudi Arabia (34 percent), Malaysia (61 percent), Mozambique (56 percent), Qatar (36 percent), Djibouti (84 percent), Nepal (2173 percent) and Oman (16 percent).

Top markets with declining exports during July-May 2019-20, include Afghanistan (33 percent), India( 97 percent), the US (6 percent), China (9 percent) UK (9 percent) Spain (12 percent) Vietnam (44 percent), Bangladesh (14 percent), South Korea (32 percent) and Belgium (12 percent).

Top declining imports - petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (non-crude) 25 percent to $ 4.6168 billion from $ 6.1794 billion, petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (crude) 37 percent to $ 2.1232 billion from $ 3.360 billion, petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons- 18 percent, organic chemicals- 19 percent, coal- 16 percent to $ 1.239 billion from $ 1.481 billion, machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers -22 percent to $ 4.1876 billion from $ 5.3363 billion, iron and steel- 22 percent, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of person- 69 percent, fertilizers -39 percent, parts and accessories for tractors and motor vehicles- 59 percent, paper and paperboard -21 percent, plastic and articles thereof- 15 percent, synthetic filament yarn- 28 percent, light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating cranes and other vessels -100 percent.

Top origins with declining imports are: the UAE (29 percent), Saudi Arabia (41 percent), India (75 percent), Qatar (33 percent), Japan (45 percent), Thailand (47 percent), China (4 percent) Italy (46 percent), Indonesia (13 percent) and Germany (26 percent).

Top increasing imports products are as follows: (i) electrical, electronic equipment- 32 percent, fruits and vegetables- 17 percent, cotton neither corded or combed - 15 percent, powered aircraft, i.e., helicopters and aeroplanes- 236 percent, aluminum and articles thereof, 5 percent, made-up articles of textile materials, including dress patterns, 82 percent, jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles- 89 percent, works trucks, self-propelled, not fitted with lifting- 341 percent, tarpaulins- 352 percent, live bovine animals - 72 percent and tobacco and cigarettes - 17 percent.

Top origins with increasing Pakistan's imports are: Brazil (64 percent), Egypt (85 percent) Panama (21884 percent), Denmark (44 percent), Algeria (342 percent), Russian Federation (30 percent), Tanzania (149 percent), Iran (14 percent) and Netherlands (5 percent).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020