Oil imports surge to
$2.17bn in 10 months
Petroleum products scored the highest increase in imports during
July-April (1999-2000), that is, 93.27% (in dollars) over the comparable period of last
year. Their imports totalled $2.17 billion. These accounted for 26.08% of total imports.
According to foreign trade statistics released by Federal Bureau of
Statistics here on Wednesday, during the same period last year, their share in total
import bill was only 14.96%. This is attributable not only to increase (11.60%) in volume
of petroleum products but that in their international prices as well. Thus in value,
import bill of petroleum products almost doubled.
Although the import of petroleum crude is shown to have decreased,
volume-wise, by 3.22%, in terms of dollars, the import bill went up by 85.48%. The
quantitative decrease in import is due to sharp drop in its import in April 2000, as
compared both to March 2000 (24.10%) and to April 1999 (18.68%). The share of petroleum
crude in total import bill has registered a steep rise from 4.65% last year to 7.77% this
year. The statistics also show sharp fluctuations in the import price of petroleum crude.
In April 1999, its rate was $114.79 per ton. By March 2000, it had soared to $198.15 per
ton, declining somewhat to $176.78 per ton. Thus its price was lower by about 22 dollars
per ton or 11.11%.
A noteworthy feature of the import bill is the drop in imports of Food
Group. From 18.51% in July-April (1998-99), its share in total import bill has dropped to
11.35% this year. This was attributable mainly to 31.10% less wheat being imported this
year, compared to last year. In the last 10 months the quantity of wheat imported was
19,65,838 tons, as compared to 28,53,052 tons imported in the same period of last year.
The import bill for wheat this year totalled $274.84 million as against $353.9 million
Another positive development is the sharp drop in import of edible
oils. As against 1.07 million tons of soyabean and palm oil import in the July-April of
last year, the quantity imported this year so far is over 862,000 tons, thus reducing its
share in Food Group imports from 50.15% to 36.28%.
Finished goods export up
Manufactured and semi-manufactured goods increased their contribution
to total exports to 87.17 per cent during the period July-April of current financial year
compared to 87.06 per cent for the corresponding period of 1998-99.
According to the foreign trade statistics released by Federal Bureau of
Statistics here on Wednesday, this was due mainly to 13.25 per cent growth of other
manufactures exports. Their share in total exports improved from 13.55% to 13.98%.
The situation, however, is far from encouraging on the textile
manufactures front. Despite an increase of 11.94% in their exports, their share in total
exports dwindled from 63.80% in July-April (1999-2000) to 65.03% of the corresponding
period of last year.
The gross exports of merchandise during the period under report
totalled $6.92 billion as against $8.33 billion worth of imports. These figures denote an
increase of 9.82% in exports and 10.93% in imports over comparable period of last year.
This resulted in further deterioration of the balance of payments situation. Thus the
trade deficit in the last ten months went up to $1.40 billion, 16.71% more than last year.
Exports to EU states decline
An overvalued rupee against euro is affecting exports to 15-member
countries of European Union, which is our second largest trading partner, exporters said
here on Tuesday.
For the past five to six months, euro is continuously depreciating
against US dollar, making rupee stronger by 23 per cent against leading European
currencies, they added.
Since dollar is the intervention currency and bulk of trading
transactions are effectuated in it, any fluctuation between greenback and other currencies
has direct bearing on the rupee exchange rate with these monetary units.
Trade deficit widens
Pakistan's trade deficit worsened to $1.49 billion during the first 10
months of 1999-2000, resulting in an increase of 14.6 per cent over the figure for the
preceding nine months.
The government, it will be recalled, had projected the trade deficit
for the entire financial year to be at $1.2 billion. This figure was already surpassed in
the first nine months.
According to the incomplete figures released by the ministry of
commerce here on Saturday, exports during the period totalled $6.92 billion.
Pakistan & Iran trade
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and leader of
Pakistan trade delegation, Amjad Rafi, discussed with representatives of associations of
Iranian textile free zone authority, chamber of free trade zone, petro-chemical
corporation, leather and skin association, vegetable and dry fruits association in Tehran
matters concerning exchange of items to mutual advantage of both countries.
Exporters decline orders
Leather madeups exporters have started refusing export orders for
jackets made of sheep skin because of shortage of raw material in the local market. So
far, according to an estimates 25 to 30 percent export orders for leather made-ups have
Fawad Ijaz Khan, a leading exporter of leather products, told that
there was such a large demand of leather made-ups in USA and Europe that buyers were
begging suppliers to ship as much quantity of jackets of sheep skins as they wished but
they could not meet the demand because the local market was starved of raw material.