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Pakistan

Pakistan's current account deficit narrows to $1.11 billion in September

  • Improvement in balance of trade helps bring down deficit on a monthly basis
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Pakistan's current account deficit narrowed to $1.113 billion in September from $1.473 billion in August, said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday.

The current account balance stood at a surplus of $30 million in September 2020. However, on a monthly basis, the deficit has narrowed around 24%, as an improvement in the balance on trade helped the situation.

"A strong rebound in economic activity and higher international commodity prices kept the current account deficit at an elevated level of $3.4 billion in Q1-FY22 (July-September)," added the central bank, which earlier said that it expects the deficit to stay within the range of 2-3% of GDP in the ongoing fiscal year.

The current account balance is a key figure for Pakistan that has seen immense pressure on its currency in recent months. The rupee has lost nearly 12% against the US dollar since May 2021, and the depreciation comes in tandem with the high import bill, widening current account deficit, and uncertainty over the Afghanistan situation.

The current account deficit was $1.92 billion in FY21, according to revised figures of the SBP, and has seen substantial increase in the last few months.

In September, while still high, the gap has narrowed due to the balance of trade figures that went from a deficit of $3.986 billion in August to $3.551 billion.

Pakistan's imports of goods alone stood at over $6.076 billion in September, while services accounted for a further $668 million in the import bill. Export of goods stood at $2.64 billion with another $551 million coming from services during September.

Experts believe the import bill is likely to remain at high levels in the coming months due to higher commodity prices in the international markets. Oil prices have already increased to hover around $84-86, while China coal prices hit a record high on Tuesday buoyed by a widening power crunch and cold weather despite Beijing's efforts to bolster supply.

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