Exports slump to eight-year low ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports dropped to an eight-year low of $20.8 billion in the previous fiscal year (2015-16), the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, despite preferential access to European markets and an ambitious government target of taking the proceeds to $35bn by 2018.
The exports have been in decline since the current government took over, falling from $24.460bn in 2012-13 to $23.667bn in 2014-15 to near $21bn now. The exports stood at around $20bn in 2007-08.
The Ministry of Commerce insists the downtrend is not unique to Pakistan, saying regional competitors, excluding Bangladesh, are also facing a decline in exports.
It also listed a number of indirect factors, such as very low inflation across advanced economies, lacklustre economic growth, jittery global equity and currency markets, weakening growth in China and a policy reversal in the United States.
The ministry has notified four cash support schemes from July 1, 2016 in an attempt to arrest decline in exports.
Moreover, the government also announced in the latest budget the release of withheld refunds of exporters by August. The move will mostly resolve the cash liquidity issues of exporters.
The country’s imports fell 2.3 per cent to $44.8bn in 2015-16 from $45.8bn in the preceding year. In June alone, imports rose 2.27pc to $4.5bn from $4.37bn a year ago.
As a result of steep fall in exports, the trade deficit also reached to an all-time high of $23.96bn in 2015-16 as against $22.16bn a year earlier.
In June this year, the trade deficit widened by 10pc to $2.82bn from $2.56bn in the same month of the previous year.