Concern expressed over falling exports.

On Saturday, the former Vice President of FPCCI, Atif Ikram Sheikh, expressed grave concern over the export fall, which is not a good sign for the troubled economy. He said that political instability and economic slowdown pulled exports down 15.4 percent to 2.2 billion in January 2023 against $2.61 billion in the same month last year.

Pakistan exports in October 2022 were down 3.25 percent year-on-year, in November 17.6 percent, in December 16.3 percent, and now in January, 15.4 percent over the corresponding month of last year, he added.

Atif Ikram Sheikh, who has also served as Chairman of PVMA, said in a statement that the trade deficit shrank 32 percent to $19.63 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal as imports were curtailed.

Textile exports have declined substantially for a fourth consecutive month in January, dropping 12.4 percent as compared to last year. Textile exports fell to $1.36 billion in January 2023, as compared to $1.55 billion recorded in January 2022.

Since October 2022, textile exports have been at a nosedive. The exports declined 15 percent in October 22, then in November 22 by 18 percent, December 22 by 16 percent, and now in January 2023, the exports went down by 12.4 percent.

He informed that the double-digit decline in its exports is worrisome for the government and the economy, as the sector contributes around 60 percent to the country’s total export proceeds.

He said that the country is facing a balance-of-payments crisis, as Pakistan has been spending more on imports than exports, running down its stock of foreign currency and weighing on the rupee’s value.

He added that the rupee recently dropped to new lows against the US dollar after authorities uncapped its value in the interbank market to meet one of the conditions put down by the IMF.

The business leader said that the government is also dealing with rampant inflation. In January 2023, it reached a 48-year high of 27.6 percent. On January 23, the central bank raised the policy rate by 100 basis points to 17 per cent, the highest since 1998, to help stabilise the economy.

The policy rate hike by the central bank has made bank financing much costlier, resulting in the contraction of industrial growth, business activities and exports.

Sheikh said that the IMF conditions, which will result in costly electricity and other inputs, will further contract the economy.

Posted in Import and Export News.

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