Imports surge 57.18pc, trade deficit crosses Rs 100bn

Nepal’s imports skyrocketed by 57.18 per cent in the first month of this fiscal to Rs 120.61 billion, while exports slowed to a crawl with marginal growth of 3.19 per cent to stand at Rs 6.92 billion compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, as per the trade statistics of the first month of fiscal 2018-19 unveiled by Department of Customs (DoC).

The DoC, however, has said that Nepal’s trade had been affected in the first month of previous fiscal as the floods had damaged the trade routes and bridges on the Indian side. “The country’s imports averaged around Rs 100 billion every month in the last fiscal 2017-18. Contrarily, the imports in the first month of last fiscal was just Rs 76.7 billion,” said the DoC.

Import of fuel, and aircraft and spare parts increased substantially in the first month of this fiscal to Rs 18.1 billion and Rs 13.3 billion, respectively, compared to fuel import in the first month of last fiscal worth Rs 9.69 billion and Rs 1.44 billion worth of aircraft and spare parts, as per DoC statistics.

Similarly, import of iron and steel products increased by 69 per cent to Rs 14.62 billion compared to Rs 8.63 billion of the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

The skyrocketing imports have caused the country’s export-to-import ratio to widen to 1:17.4. This means that the country imported merchandise goods worth Rs 17.4 against export worth one rupee. The ratio stood at 1:11.4 in the same period of last fiscal.

In the review period, the country imported fuel worth Rs 18.1 billion; iron and steel (Rs 14.62 billion); aircraft and spare parts (Rs 13.3 billion); machinery and equipment (Rs 8.23 billion) and vehicles (Rs 7.95 billion). Likewise, the country exported yarn worth Rs 820 million; tea and coffee (Rs 730 million); carpets (Rs 630 million); iron and steel (Rs 530 million) and readymade garments (Rs 490 million), according to DoC.

Toyam Raya, director general at DoC, said that though the trade deficit has been widening, the country does not have to worry much about the deficit caused by surge in import of capital goods that add value to the economy. For example, the country is exporting services through import of aircraft. However, the trade deficit caused by increasing import of consumable goods is risky for the economy, according to Raya.


Top trade partners

IMPORT

India………………………………………..Rs 71bn

China………………………………………Rs 14.94bn

France…………………………………….Rs 12.82bn

United Arab Emirates………….Rs 2.19bn

Canada…………………………………..Rs 1.97bn

EXPORT

India……………………………………….Rs 3.99bn

United States………………………..Rs 915.80m

United Kingdom…………………..Rs 294.65m

Germany………………………………..Rs 279.25m

Turkey…………………………………….Rs 248.26m