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Mar 12 - 25, 2001

Import of industrial inputs sags in 8 months

The import of industrial inputs declined substantially during the first eight months of 2000-01, indicating further slowdown in manufacturing activity.

As indicated by an analysis of Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) data, petroleum group registered huge increase in imports, thus raising their share in the import bill from 17.58% in July-February, 1999-2000 to 31.80% in the corresponding period of this fiscal. In dollars, the group's import surged by 36.23%.

Most intriguing is 52.76 per cent rise in crude oil imports, puzzling observers about the justification for importing over 4.548 million tons in the face of veritable glut of petroleum fuels in the country, and desperate efforts by the government to re-export it to Iran. Petroleum crude accounted for 12.86% of the import bill for the period under report. In the same period of previous year, its share was only 7.78%.

Petroleum crude registered a drop of over 10.63% per ton to $174.0 in February, 2001, compared to corresponding month of previous year. In January 2001 when the prices of petroleum fuels were raised by over 10 per cent, the cost of import was still lower $172.0. Even in December, it was imported at a cost lower by $10 than February 2000.

The import bill for the whole period totalled $7.16 billion about $572 million or 8.69% more than in July-February, 1999- 2000. In local currency, however, the import bill amounted to Rs407.16 billion, denoting an increase of 19.32%. This is attributable to a sharp drop in the exchange value of the rupee against US dollar.

The aggregate share of industrial raw materials in the import bill textile group, metal group, miscellaneous group and "Others" stood at 22.56% in the 8-month period under report as against 23.86% in the corresponding period of previous year.

In this group, the imports of metal group dropped by 10.57%. However, the imports of iron and steel scrap shot up by 68.66, while those of iron & steel and aluminium (wrought & worked) declined by 15.77% and 9.08% respectively.

Musharraf calls for 25-30% growth in exports

Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf, Thursday called for a 25 to 30 per cent annual growth in Pakistan's export target which, he said, at $10 billion at present was very small.

"Although we are sure to create a new record in the country's export history, I am not complacent to this achievement" he said while speaking at the inauguration of Pakistan Hand Knotted Carpet Exhibition '2001, at Expo Centre.

"When I look to Malaysian exports of $70 billion and other Far Eastern countries with the exports of 30 to 40 billion dollars annually, Pakistan's target of $10 billion seems to be very small", the Chief Executive said.

Pakistan, he pointed out, has all the capacity to increase its exports.

"We have human and other resources. Why can't we increase our exports by leap and bound", he said and added that not by 10 to 12 per cent but at least 25 to 30 per cent every year.

"If we work harder, I am sure, we will be able to achieve this task".

Seafood exports touch $100m

Country's seafood exports have witnessed a modest growth of 8.34 per cent to $ 99.802 million during July-February 2000-2001.

According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) officials on Saturday, Pakistan has exported 56,010 metric tons of shrimps, fish and other seafood items during the first eight months of current fiscal year.

In February, seafood exports valued at $8.135 million. A leading seafood exporter Tahir Dada said that despite scant landing of catch, the exports were steady.

EU's dumping duties

The bedlinen exporters have lodged protest with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) for not taking up the issue with WTO of anti-dumping duty, when it was imposed three years ago by the European Union Commission.

The European Union (EU) on December 5, 1997, had imposed anti-dumping duty at a varying percentage on import of bedlinen from Pakistan, India and Egypt.

Record export of raw cotton expected

Raw cotton exports are expected to establish a new record during the current season ending August 31, 2001, as the private sector exporters have physically shipped over half a million bales by the end of February.

"Both, a bumper crop for the second consecutive year of over 10 million bales and strong foreign demand have made it possible for us to become market leaders in South Asia and Far East," claimed a leading exporter.

Manufactured goods export down

The exports of manufactured goods declined to 86.77 per cent of total exports, during the first seven months of current financial year as compared to 87.30 per cent during the corresponding period of previous year, an analysis of the latest foreign trade statistics shows.

This was mainly due to slower improvement in textile manufactured exports, which increased by only 3.32 per cent during the period July-February 2000-01. As a result, their share in total exports slid to 62.40 per cent. During the same period of 1999-00, they have contributed 62.60 per cent to the overall exports figure, which stood at $5.98 billion. This shows a growth of 8.61 per cent over the corresponding period previous year.

Kenyan team visits KEPZ

The leader of the visiting Kenya tea delegation Samuel K. Arap Ng'eny has shown his interest in setting up a business venture in the Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ).

During the visit to KEPZA on Wednesday, the five-member tea delegation from Kenya accompanied by Hanif Janoo, Honorary Consul General of Kenya said that the objective of their visit was to see the procedure of handling of import/ export commodities in the zone.