. .

Sep 18 - 24, 2000

August exports exceed target

Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production, Abdul Razak Dawood has said that all out efforts were being made to achieve $799 million export target set for the month of September.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, he also congratulated the exporters for their splendid performance in exceeding the target of export for the month of August. Pakistan's exports of $790 million during the month of August were highest ever for August in the country's history. In achieving this, Pakistan's exports also exceeded the target of $783 million, set for the month of August this year. This is 23.6% more than the exports of $639 million in August 1999.

While appreciating the exporters last month achievement, Razak Dawood said that this performance has become more commendable in the backdrop of difficulties and hardships being faced by the exporters through SROs and attitude of various agencies. However, he showed confidence that with the cooperation of exporters and all governmental agencies, "we will succeed in establishing a meaningful export culture in the country". He however, reminded the exporters that it is just beginning of a long journey. "In this connection, we have to change first our mind-set", he pointed out.

Razak Dawood said that "we must not concentrate only on exportable surplus rather we must think that everything is available for export and that any local shortage will be easier to manage". He said that with this change in approach, Pakistan's exports will definitely get a tremendous boost.

Emphasizing the imperative need to diversify exports, the minister urged all exporters to move ahead with a mind-set that every item is available for exports.

Sharp drop in imports of industrial raw materials

A sharp drop in imports of industrial raw materials and intermediate goods marked the first two months of the year 2000-01 indicating the worsening economic recession, as compared to the corresponding period of previous year.

An analysis of the foreign trade figures issued by the Federal Bureau of Statistics for the month of Aug 2000 shows the only categories whose imports continued to show upward trend were Food and Petroleum groups. Their imports increased by 9.49% and 83.27%, respectively, over July-Aug, '99.

It is these two groups which accounted for a whopping 9.61% increase in import bill from already high $1.61bn in July-Aug, '99, to $1.77bn in July-Aug 2000.

Most intriguing is the consistent rise in imports of petroleum crude, the slump in both trade and industry spurring unemployment notwithstanding. Price increase was not the only factor in raising its share in the import bill still further to 13.46%. In the corresponding period of '99, pet. crude import had accounted for only 5.52% of the total import bill ($1.61bn).

Manufactured exports up

Manufactured exports registered an impressive increase of 16.71 per cent during the first two months of current financial year compared to corresponding period of 1998-99, indicated by an analysis of foreign trade figures released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics here on Saturday.

The total exports during July-August amounted to $1.458 billion up 17.55% from July-August 1999. Of this, 88.61% was contributed by the manufactured exports thus showing a slight increase of 0.37% over the same period last year.

Thanks to the upsurge in exports, the trade deficit at $313.05 million was lower by 16.63% than the comparable period of 1999, in spite of 9.61% increase in imports which totalled $1.77 billion in the last two months.

The picture is far from rosy because the trade deficit during the month of August soared sharply by 36.34% over the preceding month. In absolute terms, it stood at $180.59 million. A decline of 3.91% is, however, indicated when compared to August 1999.

Sale of LPG business

The cabinet committee on privatization on Wednesday approved the sale of the LPG business of Sui Southern Gas Company to Caltex Oil Pakistan at a price of Rs369 million.

The board of directors of the SSGC had already cleared the sale of LPG operations to Caltex Oils. The bids for the privatization of LPG business were received on Aug 24.

Indonesia for enhanced trade ties

Indonesian Ambassador Jack Said Gaffar on Wednesday called for greater cooperation between Pakistan and Indonesia and invited the entrepreneurs to attend "Indonesian Resources 2000 Expo" to be held from October 18 to 22.

He held a meeting the executive members of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), along with Aang R.Wirtad Jaga, Commercial Consular.

Speaking on the occasion Ambassador Jack S. Gaffar said, "our total exports are worth $44 billions as the economy has started to boom for which we are introducing structural reforms in our system along with reducing the taxes to fulfil the requirements of ASEAN, AFTA and WTO regimes".

TCP orders sugar import

The import of raw sugar has begun as four local sugar mills have placed orders of 24,000 tons from Brazil at a rate of $ 264 per ton and the first consignment is expected to arrive next month.

Meanwhile, the sources told on Tuesday the government has directed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan to check quality and colour of sugar while importing it from India.

Power not to be sold to India

There has been no request from the independent power producers seeking permission for electricity export to India, official sources at the ministry of water and power said on Monday.

The sources when asked to comment on a news report, published in a section of the press said, "There has been no "recent proposal" received by the ministry in this respect."

In any case, the sources observed, "keeping in view our own current requirement, we cannot provide electricity to India".