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Pakistan’s present account deficit declines to $229m in January

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A file picture of the State Financial institution of Pakistan
  • SBP says present account deficit was down 65% from $652 million in December 2020 on account of a 12% lower in imports
  • Analysts say decline on account of improve in complete exports and remittances
  • Analysts forecast present account unlikely to exceed 0.8% of GDP this fiscal yr

KARACHI: Pakistan’s present account deficit shrunk by 55% year-on-year to $229 million in January within the backdrop of recovering exports and sturdy remittances, the State Financial institution of Pakistan (SBP) mentioned Monday.

The SBP knowledge confirmed that the present account deficit stood at $512 million in January 2020. The present account deficit was down 65% from $652 million in December 2020, primarily on account of a 12% ($697mln) decline in complete imports.

“Compared to January 2020, exports grew steadily while remittances continued their record expansion. Imports of wheat and sugar to address domestic shortages, and palm oil, were significantly higher,” the SBP wrote on Twitter. “Machinery imports continued to grow at double-digits, reflecting economic recovery.”

Arif Habib analyst Tahir Abbas mentioned that the first motive behind the decline in annual deficit was a 2% year-on-year ($52mln) and 19% year-on-year (USD 367mln) rise in complete exports and remittances respectively.

Learn extra: PTI govt admits to failing to realize key fiscal deficit, public debt targets for Pakistan

“However, total imports increased by 10% YoY ($471 million).”

Within the first seven months of the present fiscal yr, the present account posted a surplus of $912 million, in comparison with the deficit of $2.54 billion in the identical interval final fiscal yr.

Exports of products fell to $20 billion in January from $2.2 billion in December final yr.

Imports additionally declined from $4.4 billion in January to $5 billion within the earlier month.

Learn extra: Pakistan information remittances over $2b for eighth consecutive month

Analysts mentioned the month-to-month import invoice will improve going ahead, however total the present account is unlikely to exceed 0.8% of GDP this fiscal yr. Moreover, costs and petroleum import portions are recovering to their pre-Covid ranges, inflicting further burdens on the import invoice.

Meals imports are additionally prone to stay excessive within the close to time period because of the continued import of wheat over the following two months. Extra importantly, imports of equipment can even decide up tempo in direction of the top of FY2021 as home exercise improves and companies import equipment, utilising the concessionary financing facility.

Learn extra: After 5 months of a present account surplus, Pakistan sees a deficit

“The outlook for the external sector has improved since the previous set of projections published in SBP’s FY20 annual report. The current account deficit is now projected to be in the range of 0.5-1.5% of GDP (earlier: 1 to 2% of GDP),” the SBP mentioned in its first quarterly report.

“The revision is mainly due to an upward adjustment in workers’ remittances, which are now expected to be in $24-25 billion (earlier: $22-23 billion).”


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