The Ministry of Finance statistics showed that Pakistan’s imports are mostly concentrated in a few markets. The country’s imports from states like China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Indonesia constitutes greater than 50 percent of the total imports. During fiscal year FY2017-18, share of imports from China has declined from 32 percent in previous fiscal year to 25 percent in July-January 2017-18. However, share of import from UAE, has declined by 2 percent during July-January 2017-18 as against to the corresponding period previous year.
According to the provisional statistics compiled by (PBS) Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, imports into Pakistan in December, 2018 amounted to Rs.615,030 million (provisional) as compared to Rs. 617,646 million (provisional) during November, 2018 and Rs. 530,144 million during December, 2017, explaining a fall of 0.42 percent over November, 2018 but a rise of 16.01 percent over December, 2017. In terms of US dollars the imports during December, 2018 was $4,444 million (provisional) as against to $4,626 million (provisional) during November, 2018 explaining a fall of 3.93 percent and by 8.88 percent as against to $4,877 million during December, 2017. The officials also recorded that the major commodities of imports during December, 2018 were petroleum products (Rs67,782 million), petroleum crude (Rs49,921 million), natural gas liquefied (Rs34,902 million), plastic materials (Rs22,183 million), iron & steel (Rs21,695 million), palm oil (Rs20,064 million), electrical machinery & apparatus (Rs19,806 million), power generating machinery (Rs18,693 million), iron & steel scrap (Rs18,060 million) and medicinal products (Rs14,548 million).
PBS also recorded that imports during July-December, 2018 totaled Rs3,616,156 million (provisional) as compared to Rs3,039,364 million during the same period of previous year explaining a rise of 18.98 percent. In terms of US dollars the imports during July-December, 2018 totaled $28,037 million (provisional) as compared to $28,695 million during the same period of previous year explaining a fall of 2.29 percent.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in its first quarterly report on state of Pakistan’s economy said that the country’s non-energy imports amounted to $10.4 billion during the first quarter of FY2018-19 (Q1-FY19), explaining a fall of 5.3 percent as against to the imports of same period of previous year.
The broad-based fall was led by lower purchases of machinery during the period. At the same time, transport imports dropped 17.4 percent to US$ 790.9 million in the quarter while a sizable 35.9 percent fall was noted in car CBU (Completely Built Up) imports, as extra customs duty was imposed on vehicle imports in the budget 2018-19, and the government decided to ban non-filers from purchasing cars. Meanwhile, imports under the ships and aircraft category were also lower than previous year, chiefly because of a low-base effect while further relief came from the low global prices of palm and soybean oil, which reduced the import values of these two commodities during Q1-FY19.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also recorded that in the case of palm oil, a build-up of inventories in the second-largest producer Malaysia, coupled with the ongoing slump in the Malaysian ringgit as compared to the US dollar, led to a drop in its global prices. According to the statement of SBP, this drop encouraged edible oil mills in the country to purchase higher quantities while the prices were low. As a consequence, even though quantum palm oil purchases went up 12.8 percent, its import values declined 4.8 percent to $485.7 million in Q1-FY19.
Similarly, lower global prices of soybean oil kept its import values in check, though quantum imports of the commodity were also lower as against to the corresponding period previous year. Coal imports stayed elevated as the global prices stood their highest levels since April 2012; average coal prices were 23.7 percent higher on YoY basis in Q1-FY19.
Meanwhile, fertilizer imports increased 49.6 percent and stood $344.2 million, as local production declined by 5.1 percent during Q1-FY19. It is importantly to mention here that the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has revived a condition for used car imports that proved controversial last time it was launched. The condition is that payment of duties and taxes for all car imports be made in foreign exchange to be directly remitted from abroad by the person importing the vehicle. Most used cars are imported in the country under baggage rules or gift scheme, which is designed for personal purposes only, but are then sold off in the market.