ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s trade deficit has narrowed by over nine percent during the first four months (July to October) of the current fiscal year 2013-14 against the corresponding period of last year due to healthy growth in exports and minor decline in imports during the period under review.

 The country’s trade imbalance has reduced to $5.883 billion in July-October period of the year 2013-14 from $6.484 billion of the corresponding period of previous year, showing a decline of 9.27 percent in one year, revealed the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Tuesday.

Exports have grown slightly faster than imports during period under review leading to reduction in country’s trade deficit.

According to the PBS figures, exports rose by 5.11 percent to $ 8.576 billion during the July-October 2013-14 from $8.159 of the same period of the last year. However, imports marginally decreased by 1.26 percent to $14.459 billion in July-October 2013-14 from $14.643 billion a year ago. Therefore, the trade deficit stood at $5.883 billion in the period under review.

The continuous slowing down of imports allowed some breathing space to economic managers who are struggling to cope with the challenge of building foreign currency reserves. The country’s foreign exchange reserves are sharply declining due to repayment to the IMF. The IMF has projected that Pakistan’s exports would grow by 11.4 percent against the imports growth estimation of 7 percent for the ongoing financial year.

On this basis, combined with healthy projections in remittances growth, Pakistan and IMF have worked out a current account deficit of just 0.6pc of the gross domestic product. If the current account deficit widens more than the projected level, it will create problems for the State Bank of Pakistan in fulfilling its commitments to the IMF. The central bank will face problems in maintaining foreign currency reserves on previously agreed levels, in addition to achieving quarterly targets for net foreign assets.

According to the PBS figures, the overall exports growth went down by 28.91 percent in October 2013 if compared with exports of previous month. The country exported goods worth of $1.864 billion in October 2013 against $2.622 billion of September 2013.

Similarly, the imports also reduced by 13.45 percent in the period under review over last year, as the country imported goods worth of $3.281 billion during October 2013 as compared to $3.791 billion of September 2013. The country’s trade imbalance increased by 21.21 percent in October 2013. The country’s trade deficit was recoded at $1.417 billion in October 2013 against $1.169 billion of September 2013.

Meanwhile, according to the PBS figures, exports stood at $1.864 billion in October 2013, which were $2.015 billion in October 2012 and this showed a decline of 7.49 percent in exports in one year. Imports decreased by 13.43 percent and were recorded at $3.281 billion in October 2013 against $3.790 billion of October 2012.

The trade deficit for October 2013 against October 2012 decreased by 20.175 percent and was recorded at $1.417 billion.