Oct 15 - 21, 2001
Exports up by 4.30pc in Sept: Imports decline
Pakistan's exports in September 2001 increased by
2.46 per cent to $799.6 million when compared with $780 million in
August, but imports in the same month fell by 17.11 per cent to $777
million as against $938 million in August.
Even if exports of September 2001 of $799 million
were compared with exports of same period of 2000, it showed an
increase of 4.30 per cent. Exports in September 2000 were $766
million, says provisional figures released by the Federal Bureau of
Statistics (FBS) on Tuesday.
Imports declined by 18.13 per cent in September
2001 to $777 million as compared to $950 million in the same period of
2000. "Exports have increased due to shipments of old
orders," an exporter said fearing decline in October owing to
slowdown in bookings by foreign buyers and delay in confirming letter
of credits (LCs) after September 11 incident.
Exporters paint a gloomy picture of foreign
exchange earnings in October and November in case the US intensifies
attacks on Afghanistan. "The real impact of September 11 will be
felt in the current month and next month," they said.
The government had already warned of a possible
decline in exports by $1.5 to $2 billion in the current fiscal in view
of the current situations. In July-September 2001, exports also rose
by 1.77 per cent to $2.264 billion from $2.225 billion in the same
period of 2000. However, imports registered a fall of 8.18 per cent to
$2.507 billion in the first quarter of 2001 as compared to $2.730
billion in the corresponding period of 2000.
Product-wise comparison of exports in September
2001 with August 2001, showed that exports of rice plunged by 27.55
per cent, fruits by 37.58 per cent, crude animal material by 22 per
cent, POL products by 26 per cent, sports goods by 21 per cent,
leather goods by 25 per cent, surgical instruments by 33 per cent and
cutlery items by 47 per cent.
NWFP import receipts up
The dutiable imports in the NWFP have registered
positive growth of over 281 per cent in September to Rs2.4 billion
against Rs0.63 billion during the same period last year.
The total import bill in the province, however, was
Rs2.5 billion in September against Rs1.87 billion over the
corresponding period last year, showing an increase of 38.88 per cent.
Similarly, the duty free imports in September
decreased by 92.33 per cent to Rs0.095 billion against Rs1.24 billion
over the corresponding month last year.
Official sources attributed the increase in the
dutiable import items to the closure of the Afghan borders in the wake
of US-led attacks on Afghanistan.
They were of the opinion that due to decline in the
volume of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT), which was believed to be the
main source of smuggling back into Pakistan, the volume of dutiable
imports increased in the province.
External trade in disarray
The country's external trade during last one month
(Sept 11 to Oct 10) remained in disarray, as exporters and importers
continued to face a number of problems arising one after another.
The $20 billion external trade has been burdened in
a short span of 30 days with such additional costs coming in the shape
of 'war risk premium' on ships operating in the region, hike in
freight charges, rise in insurance cost for import/export consignments
and weakening of the dollar against the rupee.
Against these negative developments, there was only
one concession from State Bank of Pakistan in the form of a one per
cent cut in the export finance rate to 12 per cent.
The exporters are now paying about $500 more (from
Oct 1) per container on account of war risk premium: $185; freight
rate hike: $150 and cargo insurance (cif): $125 for export shipment
and along with this, have to bear the sudden free fall of dollar
against the rupee. Exporters fear that the country will end up losing
around $2.5 billion in export trade alone as western buyers have
heavily slashed down the new orders.
Canola seed import exempted from ST
The government has withdrawn sales tax on import of
Canola seed. The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) issued a notification
in this regard on Thursday. General Sales Tax was levied at a rate of
15 per cent on the import of canola seed under the Sales Tax Act,
1990, while import of rap seed enjoyed exemption from the levy.
Traders warn of fall in exports to Afghanistan
Pakistan's exports to Afghanistan rose from $115
million in fiscal 1999-00 to $140 million in 2000-01, according to a
source in Export Promotion Bureau. But exporters say the rising trend
may not continue through the current fiscal year if the US air strikes
on Kabul protract.
The $25 million increase in the exports to
Afghanistan in the last fiscal year is largely due to a $21 million
export of wheat flour. Pakistan had harvested 19.2 million tons of
wheat in fiscal 2000-01. This coupled with carryover stock of 4.2
million tons enabled the country to produce surplus wheat flour for
Whether Pakistan's exports to the land-locked
country maintain a rising trend through this fiscal year is yet to be
seen. But traders say much will depend on how soon the US air strikes
on Kabul come to an end.
ATT volume shrinks
The volume of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) has
decreased by 50 per cent following the September 11 terrorist attacks
on US, well-placed sources told on Tuesday.
The sources said that normally 25 to 30
consignments used to be cleared through Karachi Port daily under the
ATT, but in the wake of prevailing tension in the region the number
came down to 10 to 15 consignments. Moreover, the daily clearance of
consignments on September 11 was only 2, on September 29 there were 12
consignments while only 2 consignments were cleared on October 1,