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Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Murtaza Syed, said on Wednesday that the country's exports can increase in the medium term due to slowdown in the Chinese economy due to the coronavirus, resulting in cancellation of export orders around the world.

He was speaking to the business community at the Federation House about the impact of the coronavirus on Pakistan's trade. Murtaza Syed spoke on the global as well as domestic economic situation in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

He said that Pakistan has deep trade links with China and would likely to be affected from the halting of industrial and economic activities in the economic giant of the world.

However Pakistani exporters had started looking towards alternative markets of Africa and Europe for their products, whose exports to China made ten percent of the total exports of the country.

About the exports, the Deputy Governor said that Pakistani exports can be increased in view of halting of exports from China. However, he saw it as a medium term opportunity.

He said that Pakistan imported sixty percent of machinery and twenty percent of raw materials from China and stated that due to disruption in supply chain because of the coronavirus, local importers have started looking at other markets.

He believed that the pace of work of SEZs and FTA with China might be slowed down for a quarter, but he opined that reduction in oil prices in the global market would benefit the country.

He said that the slowdown in world economies led to the central banks in major markets bringing down the interest rate and also thinking about fiscal stimulus to support the markets.

Later, Dr Qaisar Sajjad, Secretary General of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), highlighted the issues pertaining to coronavirus and informed the members of the business community about the precautionary measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020