ISLAMABAD, March 28: Import bill of oil and eatables surged by 24.84 per cent in the first eight months of 2011-12 over the same period last year, suggested data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics released on Wednesday.
In absolute terms, the July-February import bill of these commodities reached $13.292 billion as against $10.728 billion in the same period last year, causing higher than expected trade deficit.
The share of these two sectors in total import bill also reached 44.96 per cent this year from 41.9 per cent last year, reflecting increasing dependence of the country on import of these items.
Statistics showed that the oil import bill reached $9.935 billion in the July-Feb period this year, up by 38.29 per cent from $7.184 billion last year.
The surge in import of value-added petroleum products showed a growth of 50 per cent as it reached to $6.503 billion in July-Feb period as against $4.335 billion the same period last year.
It indicates that Pakistani refineries were underperforming. Analysts blame the unresolved issue of circular debt for weak performance of local refineries.
Import of crude oil was up by 20.47 per cent to $3.432 billion as against $2.849 billion in the same period last year. And growth in the import of these two commodities (petroleum crude and valued added products) also witnessed in terms of rupees.
This increase was because of rising oil prices in the international market. The depreciation of rupee further added up the import value of oil during the period under review.
The import bill of eatables reached $3.457 billion in the July-Feb period this fiscal year against $3.544 billion in the same period last year, reflecting a slight decrease of 2.47 per cent.
Within food group import, major contribution came from edible oil, spices, tea and pulses. The edible oil import witnessed a substantial increase during the period under review in quantity, value and per value terms.
Falling international prices, strong domestic demand and cut in import duty encouraged import of palm oil which recorded a growth of 28.34 per cent in the first eight months this year.