ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan’s trade deficit shrank by over 5 per cent during first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year 2013-2014 over the corresponding period of the previous year mainly due to exports outpacing the imports.

According to the latest figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), country’s trade imbalance reduced to $7.74 billion in July-November 2013-2014 period against $8.20 billion of the same period of previous financial year, showing a decline of 5.52 per cent in one year. The figures revealed that exports have shown positive growth as compared to imports, which recoded negative growth in the period under review.

Imports have been declining steadily since October 2012, while exports rebounded because of a slight improvement in demand in European markets because of the preferential market access on more than 70 products, mostly related to textile. Meanwhile, the European Union has granted GSP+ status to Pakistan, which would be effective from January 2014. Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Thursday claimed that country’s exports would increased by at least two billion dollars by getting GSP+ status from European Union.

Trade analysts are of the opinion that trade imbalance might surge in the months to come, as oil import bill is expected to increase due to CNG stations closure in the country due to gas shortage. They said that government should focus on increasing exports of the country that would bridge the gap between exports and imports. The government has constituted a committee to propose measures for exploring avenues for increasing exports. The committee was tasked to prepare an action plan within a period of one month. No report has been made so far despite passing three months time.

The reduction in country’s trade deficit would provide little relief to the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which are sharply depleting due to repayment to International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the PBS figures, the overall exports have increased by 3.22 percent in the month of November against October. The exports were recorded at $1.804 billion in November as against $1.864 billion of October. Meanwhile, the imports registered growth of 11.28 per cent during November against October. Country’s import bill was recorded at $3.651 billion in November against $3.281 billion of October. Therefore, the country’s trade imbalance increased by 30.35 percent in November 2013. The country’s trade deficit was recoded at $1.847 November 2013 against $1.417 billion of October 2013.

Meanwhile, according to the PBS figures, exports stood at $1.804 billion in November 2013, which were $1.896 billion in November 2012 and this showed decrease of 4.85 per cent in one year. Meanwhile, imports reduced by 1.22 per cent and were recorded at $3.651 billion in November 2013 against $3.607 billion of November 2012.

The trade deficit for September 2013 against September 2012 narrowed by 7.95 per cent and was recorded at $1.847 billion.