Trade deficit narrows by 24.94 percent to $17 billion in nine months

Trade deficit widened by 24.56 percent on MoM basis to $2.171 billion in March 2024 when compared to $1.74 billion in February 2024

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan’s trade deficit has shrunk by 24.94 percent to $17 billion in the first nine months (July to March) of the current fiscal year.

According to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statis­tics (PBS), the country’s trade deficit has narrowed by 24.94 percent during the July-March period of the current fiscal year. The trade imbalance, gap between exports and imports, was recorded at $17.030 bil­lion as against $22.7 billion during the same period of last fiscal year. Pakistan’s exports have enhanced by 8.93 percent to $22.9 billion during July-March of the year 2023-24 as compared to $21.03 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. Meanwhile, imports declined by 8.65 per­cent to $40 billion during the first nine months of the cur­rent fiscal year as compared with $43.7 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year.

The data further showed that the country’s trade defi­cit widened by 24.56 percent on a month-on-month basis to $2.171 billion in March 2024 when compared to $1.74 billion in February 2024. The exports have recorded a 1.08 percent de­crease to $2.555 billion in March 2024 when compared with $2.583 billion in February 2024. On the other hand, the imports have increased by 9.25 percent to $4.73 billion in March 2024 when compared with $4.32 bil­lion in February 2024.

The trade deficit increased by 56.3 percent on a year-on-year basis to $2.171 billion in March 2024 compared to $1.389 bil­lion in March 2023. Imports have enhanced 25.86 percent on a YoY basis and remained $4.73 billion in March 2024 compared to $3.755 billion in March 2023. Exports have en­hanced by 7.99 percent on a YoY basis and remained $2.555 billion in March 2024 compared to $2.366 billion in March 2022.

The ministry of finance had projected that for the month of March, it was expected that exports of goods and services will improve and reach at level around $ 3.5b due to favorable foreign demand by Pakistan’s main exports destinations. Simi­larly, imports of goods and ser­vices will touch around $5.5b in March 2024. Nonetheless, remit­tances are expected to improve due to positive seasonal and Ramzan-eid factor. Considering these factors, as well as other components, the current account will remain in sustainable limit.

It noted that according to BOP data for February 2024, current account turns to surplus of $128 million (Deficit of $ 303 million in Jan, 2024). The key factor for this improvement is a decline in the trade deficit in goods and services declined by 14.2 per­cent on MoM basis ($ 2.2b in Jan 2024 to $1.9b in Feb 2024). Both exports and imports of goods and services declined by 5.8 and 9.1 percent, respective­ly. Similarly, balance on primary income improved by 36 percent, due to lower primary income debit. However, remittances which may play more instru­mental role in current account improvement, decreased by 6.2 percent on MoM basis.

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