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May 08 - 21, 2000

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

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 last year.

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 been declined.

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.