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Jun 12 - 18, 2000

Trade deficit up at $1.6bn

Pakistan incurred a trade deficit of $1,608m during the first 11 months of the year '99-2000, showing an increase of 17.45% over the corresponding period of previous year, according to an official source.

This deterioration of the trade gap occurred despite the fact that there was an improvement of 10.31% in exports during the period. Clearly, the worsening trade imbalance is due to persistent rise in imports. These have increased by 11.5% in the last 11 months, compared to the corresponding period of last year. In absolute terms, the trade deficit shows an difference of $239m, because during the period July-May ('98-99) the trade deficit had amounted to $1,369m.

During the month of May, the trade imbalance deteriorated further by $91m, raising it from $1490m deficit registered at the end of the period July-April (1999-2000) to $1,608m by the end of last month.

By the end of May, the exports totalled $7,692m as against imports worth $9,300m.

When compared with April, the trade deficit went up by 7.91% during May, when the exports totalled $760m. This also means an increase in trade deficit of 14.31% over the corresponding month of last year.

But the imports also spiralled to $956m, registering an increase of 15.7% over May '99 and of 14.35% over April, 2000.

The statistics further show that at the end of ll-month period, the country is short of the target of $9 billion by $1308 million or 14.53%.

The monthly average of exports in the current financial year comes to $699.27 million. At this rate, it is expected that the export figure for the year 1999-2000 would be around the 88.4 billion mark.

Pakistan, Iran sign oil agreement

The government has signed an agreement with Iran for importing 30,000 barrel light crude diesel per day. The contract will be effective from July 1.

Islamabad had proposed that Tehran should provide 25 per cent of Pakistan's requirement of high speed diesel. The proposal was welcomed by the Iranian authorities. The deal, which was inked last week, envisages supply of 30,000 barrel per day (bpd) for one year. The Iranian crude would be processed in refineries at Karachi.

At present, the government is importing 100,000 bpd. Also, it is negotiating a similar deal with Saudi Arabia. The deal is likely to mature when a delegation of petroleum ministry would visit Saudi Arabia later this month.

The terms of the deal with Iran are commercial but the officials are of the view that signing of the contract was an important event keeping in view the limited availability of crude diesel in the world market.

Rice quality for export okayed

The Quality Review Committee has certified more than 1.46 million tonnes of rice for export purposes, officials said here Wednesday.

Acting Controller QRC Chaudhry Ikram said here that Karachi office had certified 1.445 million tonnes while Lahore office issued certificates for 15,1-83 tonnes of rice till June 5, 2000.

In addition, he said Rice Export Corporation of Pakistan had also certified 50,000 tonnes of rice of which 30,000 tonnes were basmati.

He said of the total certified rice, 325,000 tonnes are super basmati while 84,000 tonnes are blended rice and the rest is IRRI-6, IRRI-9, PK-386 and other varieties.


Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have shown interest in Pakistani products as the Export Promotion Bureau has received five international tenders, it was officially stated. According to an EPB release, Sri Lanka has shown interest in pharmaceutical/surgical/surgical consumable items while Bangladesh in potassium carbonate and meteorological balloon (natural rubber-made).

Delayed relief hikes sugar import bill

Delay in removing 35 per cent cash margin on L/Cs for import of white sugar is going to cost the country $22 million more because of price difference as world sugar prices have soared to $268 per tonne from $205 about two months back, importers said Wednesday.

After importing around 0.150 million tonnes the country would still be needing around 0.350 million tonnes of white sugar to meet the domestic shortfall because of poor sugarcane crop this year, industry sources said.

On harvesting poor sugarcane crop, the mills this season (1999-2000) produced around 2.5 million tonnes of white sugar against domestic consumption of around three million tonnes.

Gold imports suspended

Gold import has remained suspended as a result of the countrywide shutter-down against tax survey twelve days ago.

General Secretary, Karachi Saraf and Jewellers Group, Haji Mohammed Farooq told that the import of gold is estimated at 120,000 tola per month.

Pakistan in EXPO-2000

Federal Minister for environment, labour, manpower and overseas Pakistanis, Omar Asghar Khan inaugurated Pakistan Pavalion at Expo 2000 Hannover, Germany on June 3. The FPCCI has organized Pakistan's participation in Expo 2000, says a press release.

Exports growth

Pakistan's exports are projected to grow by 11 per cent in fiscal 2000-2001 which would help improve the trade balance.

According to latest projections by the Planning Commission to be submitted in the National Economic Council meeting, fiscal 2000-2001 will experience an improvement in the trade balance to high growth of exports and only a modest increase in imports.

Exports (fob) are projected to grow by 11 per cent while imports (fob) are forecast by 3.6 per cent.