ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s oil, food and transport import bill edged up 10.6 per cent year-on-year to $26.1 billion in the 10 months of 2017-18, reflecting an increase in the global oil prices.
The trade deficit is widening mainly because of rising import bill of oil and eatables, according to the data compiled by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Official figures showed that the petroleum imports increased 30.4pc to $11.4bn in the July-April period.
A 60.5pc growth was recorded in import of crude oil to reach $3.3bn but in terms of quantity, an increase of 29.80pc was posted to reach 8.6 million tonnes, indicating that a large share of the growth is on account of higher prices.
Imports of petroleum products went up 9.3pc to $6bn in the 10-month period. The category recorded a nearly 5.3pc decline in quantity 12.7m tonnes. The import bill of liquefied natural gas surged 84.9pc to $1.86bn while that of petroleum gas liquefied went higher by 19.7pc to $234.9.09m.
Food commodities accounted for the second-largest share in the bill, witnessing a 2.32pc rise in imports to stand at $5.1bn. The increase is mainly due to massive buying of palm oil, registering a 11.5pc growth to $1.72bn in value and 11.2pc in terms of quantity to 2.38m tonnes.
The second-biggest product in the food category was tea, which went up by 9.04pc to $492.98m. However, a 4.32pc decline was recorded in terms of quantity. The import of ‘other’ food items grew by 15.8pc to $1.97bn.
The import of milk products rose by 6.48pc to $221.2m while that of soybean oil surged by 47.6pc to $120.4m and spices 18.9pc to $136.8m. On the other hand, the import of pulses dropped by 47pc to $442.7m.
Transport was the third biggest contributor to the import bill going up by 32.2pc to $3.5n from $2.6bn, led by road motor vehicles increasing by 16.2pc to $2.4bn as against $2bn last year.
The import of machinery fell by 3.4pc to $9.5bn in July-April period this year as against $9.8bn over the corresponding period last year. In this group, the import of telecom equipments including mobile phones has witnessed growth of 11.9pc year-on-year to $1.3bn.
The import of textile, office and power generating machinery shrank during the period.