KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 23
Country's foreign trade has increased by 63 percent in the first five months of the current fiscal (mid-July to mid-December) compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year (2020-21), The country witnessed the foreign trade worth Rs 575.55 billion in the first five months of the last fiscal year and the figure rose to Rs 941.33 billion this year.
The latest data issued by the Department of Customs show that the import business also increased by 59.55 per cent this year compared to the previous year.
The import in the five months of the last year was calculated at Rs 525.50 billion and it has jumped to Rs 838.41 billion till mid-December of the current fiscal.
Likewise, the export surged by 105.61 per cent during the review period. Nepal's export business was worth Rs 50.05 billion till mid-December last year and it reached 102.92 billion in the corresponding period this year.
According to the department, despite the data suggesting a rise in export, the country's trade deficit has further ballooned this year compared to the last year.
This is because the export growth was far outpaced by the increase in imports.
The nation recorded a 54.7 per cent rise in trade deficit to Rs 735.49 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal year.
It was Rs 475.44 billion in the corresponding period of last year.
The contribution of import in the country's total foreign trade in the first five months of the last fiscal year was 91.3 per cent and it went down by 2.45 percentage points during the same period of the current fiscal year to stand at 98.07 per cent.
Similarly, the share of export in foreign trade has increased to 10.93 per cent, an improvement of 25.72 percentage points compared to its share of 8.7 per cent in five months of the last fiscal year.
According to the department, even among the petroleum products that make up the largest chunk of imports, diesel topped the chart. Diesel worth Rs 49.03 billion was imported till mid-December.
Likewise, crude soybean oil was the second highest import item. Nepali entrepreneurs import crude soybean oil from different countries and export it to other countries after refining it.
As per the DoC data, around 985 million litres of soybean oil worth Rs 33.66 billion was imported in the first five months of the current fiscal year.
This was followed by crude palm oil worth Rs 24.61 billion, petrol worth Rs 24.10 billion and liquefied petroleum gas worth Rs 23.11 billion.
Among the exported goods, the highest amount of soybean oil was exported from Nepal. As per the latest data, soybean oil worth Rs 30.55 billion was exported from Nepal followed by palm oil worth Rs 27.42 billion.
Entrepreneurs import crude palm oil and export to different countries after refining it, similar to the soybean oil.
The DoC data show that carpets worth Rs 3.73 billion and jute and other woven clothes worth Rs 2.65 billion were exported.
In the first five months of the current fiscal year, Nepal imported goods worth around Rs 500.04 billion from India and exported goods worth Rs 84.15 billion to the southern neighbour.
This shows that Nepal's trade deficit with India alone is more than Rs 415 billion.
Likewise, Nepal imported goods worth Rs 122.20 billion from China whereas it exported goods worth Rs 381.62 million to the northern neighbour in the first five months of the current fiscal year.
The department's statistics shows the largest amount of import was through the Birgunj transit point which recorded goods import worth more than Rs 290 billion, followed by Bhairahawa transit point which recorded goods imports worth Rs 136.52 billion and Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) customs which recorded imports worth over Rs 105.08 billion.
Nepal exported goods worth more than Rs 49.41 billion via Birgunj customs, Rs 28.57 billion via Biratnagar customs and Rs 14.42 billion through TIA customs.
A version of this article appears in the print on December 24, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.