Pakistan’s oil, food import bill surges to $28.14bn

Pakistan’s oil, food import bill surges to $28.14bn

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s oil and food imports jumped to $28.14bn (an increase of 61.44pc) in the July-April period, as compared to $17.43bn in the corresponding period last year, largely due to increased global prices and the rupee’s free fall against the dollar. 

The overall import bill increased to $72.29bn (by 44.51pc) in 10MFY22 against $50.02bn in the previous period. The share of these products also rose to 39pc. 

The steady rise in the import bill in these two sectors is leading to a trade deficit. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the import of oil increased to $19.69bn (over 99.14pc) in 10MFY22 from $9.88bn in the previous fiscal year. An unexpected increase in petroleum prices for domestic users was also witnessed during this period. 

A further breakdown showed that the import of petroleum products rose by 26.31pc in quantity and 126.17pc in value. Crude oil imports climbed by 2pc in quantity and 74.70pc in value, while import of liquefied natural gas increased by 86.29pc in value. Imports of liquefied petroleum gas grew by 43.50pc in value. The import cost of food hiked up to $8.45bn (over 11.93pc) from $7.55bn to bridge the gap in food production. 

It is expected that the import bill would increase further in the near future due to the government’s decision to import 0.6m tonnes of sugar and 4m tonnes of wheat to build reserves. 

Wheat, sugar, spices, tea, edible oil and pulses accounted for the biggest share of imports, with edible oil’s imports drastically increasing in both quantity and value. It rose from $2.39bn to $3.406bn (an increase of 42.08pc) in 10MFY22. The import of soya bean oil also increased by 18.25pc in quantity and 111.90pc in value. 

The import of sugar swelled to 312,125 tonnes (an increase of 49.33pc) in 10MFY22 against 280,820 tonnes in 10MFY21.