Oil, food import bill up by 20pc

Islamabad: The import bill of oil and eatables widened by over 20 per cent in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year over last year owing to rising consumption of food and surge in oil prices in the international market.

In absolute term, the import bill of these two products climbed to $13.077 billion in July-April period this year from $10.871 billion during the same period last year, suggested data of the federal bureau of statistics on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s total import bill reached $32.262 billion during the period under review as against $28.122 billion, showing an increase of over 14 per cent.

This shows that less than half of the total import bill was consumed by import of these two commodities in July-April period.

The import bill of food products witnessed a substantial growth of 54 per cent at $4.312 billion during the period under review as against $2.784 billion earlier making Pakistan dependent on import of non-staple products.

The volume of food products emerged second after the oil group and in terms of increase eatables imports outpaced the oil imports during the period under review.

The food items import was mainly driven by import of palm oil in July-April period this year.

Statistics show that import of palm oil was up by 53.67 per cent to $1.599 billion during July-April as against $1.04 billion earlier.

The increase of over 16 per cent was witnessed in quantity of palm oil during the period under review.

And import of soyabean oil also witnessed an increase of 341 per cent during July-April to $60.767 million as against $13.768 million last year.

The import of sugar also witnessed 262 per cent increase to $681.371 million during the period under review as against $187.749 million last year.

The import of milk products witnessed an increase of 90 per cent in July-April over the last year in value terms followed by 26 per cent increase in import of tea, and 49.49 per cent in spices.

Statistics showed the oil import bill reached $8.765 billion in July-April this year as against $8.087 billion over the last year, indicating an increase of 8.39 per cent.

Of these, the import of crude oil was up by 36.77 per cent to $3.847 billion during July-April period as against $2.813 billion last year.

This suggests a rising oil demand in the domestic market as the quantity of crude oil import also witnessed an increase of 10.63 per cent during the period.

The import of petroleum products reached $4.918 billion in July-April, down by 6.75 per cent from $5.274 billion last year.

The decline indicates that domestic refineries have slightly improved their refining capacity.

The government has projected the import of furnace oil at 8 million tons this year as against 6.5 million tons last year, indicating a growth of 23 per cent.

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