Import bill falls by 13% in February


KARACHI: The country’s imports in February 2014 witnessed a steep decline of 13 percent in month-on-month (MoM) terms thus settling at $3.6 billion to save valuable foreign exchange, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The data revealed 7 out of 8 groups showed a monthly decline in imports with petroleum group being the exception that increased by a meager 2 percent on MoM basis. However, the petroleum group constitutes 35 percent of total imports of the country whereas the imports of other major groups including machinery, chemical and food showed decline of 28 percent, 28 percent and 13 percent respectively in February 2014.
On year-on-year (YoY) basis, the surge in imports of 6 percent was mainly attributable to 29 percent higher petroleum imports. The volume of petroleum products and crude oil jumped by huge 41 percent and 69 percent respectively.
The oil imports stood at $1.2 billion and shared 34 percent of the total imports of February. Furthermore, machinery group, which was the 2nd largest import group inched up by a meager 4 percent YoY. On the other hand, food, transport and metal group dropped by 25 percent, 8 percent and 14 percent respectively on YoY basis.
Overall, in the eight months of the current financial year 2013-14, the imports cost has increased by a meager 1 percent to $29.4 billion as compared to $29.1 billion in same period last year. A 10 percent YoY and 8 percent YoY fall in food and transport group slower down the impact of heavy weightage oil group imports’ increase of 2 percent YoY.
On the other, the total exports of the country stood at $16.9 billon in eight months of 2013-14 as compared to $15.9 billion last year showing 6.2 percent growth.
The textile exports being a major contributor to the total exports of the country accumulated 54 percent amounting to $9.16 billion.
The exports of the sector posted a growth of 8.28 percent in 8M FY14. Within the textile sector, major contribution came from exports of bewear, increasing by 20.8 percent YoY ($243 million) to $1,409 million fuelled by increased demand from European Union (EU) as its quantity grew by 19.7 percent YoY to 206 k metric tonnes.
Similarly, cotton cloth registered 8.5 percent YoY growth in dollar terms. Exports from the latter increased to $1,879 million in 8M FY14 following a 12.2 percent YoY increase in the quantity. Moreover, the knitwear and readymade garments segment surged by 8.4 percent YoY to $1,481 million and 9.2 percent YoY to $1,260 million respectively.
On monthly basis, exports of the textile group stepped up by 3.1 percent MoM to $1,131 million whereas, cotton yarn posted the phenomenal growth of 28 percent MoM to $167 million. Likewise, cotton cloth also travelling in the same direction reaching to $237 million, registering a jump of 12.5 percent MoM ($26 million) in the month of February 2014.
The main reason behind this growth was an upsurge of demand from the EU on the back of granting Generalised Systemof Preferences plus status to Pakistan, which started from January 14, 2014. It is estimated textile exports to be increased to $14 billion by the end of fiscal 2013-14 as against the target of $16 billion on account of shortage of electricity and the uncertain law and order situation.

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Aaj Kal