Kathmandu, February 15
The country’s overall trade was squeezed by 30 per cent in the first half of this fiscal as compared to the corresponding period of previous fiscal, as import and export plunged by over Rs 110.75 billion and Rs 12.6 billion, respectively. The total import in the review period was Rs 272.39 billion, while export stood at Rs 31.44 billion.
The trade statistics of the first half this fiscal, which was unveiled by the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) today, showed that the overall trade volume dropped as import of top items sharply plummeted in the review period.
Import of top items — namely, petroleum products, iron ore, vehicles and machineries — dropped sharply in this fiscal because of disruptions in supply from India and third countries in the last four months.
Import of petroleum products, which used to be the top import item in previous years, slumped by 64 per cent as compared to corresponding period of previous fiscal to stand at Rs 21.01 billion. Import of petroleum in the first half of fiscal 2014-15 amounted to Rs 58.37 billion.
Similarly, import of iron ore declined by 36.2 per cent in the review period and stood at Rs 25.86 billion. Import of vehicles and parts also plummeted by 28.2 per cent to Rs 17.23 billion.
As supply from India became regular from all the customs point, except Birgunj, in the last month of the review period, the overall trade volume increased in the period between mid-December to mid-January, according to TEPC. Import of majority of items declined this fiscal as compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal.
Import growth of gold topped that of all items — surging by a whopping 337 per cent in the review period to stand at
Rs 8.02 billion. The import of the precious metal in the first half of this fiscal is nearly equivalent to the annual import in previous fiscal.
Import of pharmaceutical products also surged by 44.8 per cent to stand at Rs 13.87 billion. Pharmaceuticals import doubled in last one month of the review period. Such import stood at Rs 6.40 billion in the first five months of this fiscal, whereas its import soared by more than two-fold in a single month (between mid-December to mid-January) to Rs 13.87 billion, according to TEPC.
On the export side, cardamom reported outstanding performance with over 60 per cent growth at Rs 2.39 billion, as compared to the previous fiscal year’s export in the same period. Export of other major export items — carpets and garments — also surged by 11.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.
The country exported carpets worth Rs 3.96 billion and readymade garments worth Rs 2.90 billion in the review period.
Majority of items listed as priority export items under Nepal Trade Integration Strategy posted negative growth. However, export of cardamom, ginger felt items, tea, Nepali paper and essential oil increased.
Among the country’s trading partners, trade with China plunged sharply in the review period as the trade route with China via land remained closed for long after the earthquakes of April and May. Rasuwagadhi-Jilong is the only land trade route with China that is in operation since October of last year after the quakes struck the country.
In the review period, import from China plummeted by 16.3 per cent to stand at Rs 45.42 billion, while the country’s export to the northern neighbour plunged by 63.2 per cent to Rs 590 million.
Similarly, the country’s import and export with India — the largest trading partner — also declined sharply. The country’s total import from India plunged by 36.2 per cent to Rs 155.98 billion in the review period and export to the southern neighbour dropped by 36.6 per cent to Rs 17.29 billion in the first half of this fiscal as compared to the corresponding period of previous fiscal.
A version of this article appears in print on February 16, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.