Trade deficit doubled in first quadrimester

Kathmandu, November 22

The country’s trade deficit almost doubled in the first four months of the current fiscal year to Rs 277.2 billion as compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, as imports surged heavily since the beginning of this year.

According to the Department of Customs (DoC), the country imported merchandise worth Rs 301.78 billion as against total exports of Rs 24.99 billion, resulting in a trade deficit worth Rs 277.2 billion. The trade deficit rose by 99.52 per cent in the review period as imports surged by 87.85 per cent against export growth of 13.01 per cent in the first quardimester.

Import has been surging gradually every passing month in this fiscal. The country imported goods worth Rs 81.16 billion in the last month (mid-October to mid-November) alone.

Though there was a border blockade for nearly four months since the last week of September last year which disrupted supply of goods from India to Nepal, the import growth of around 88 per cent is relatively high.

Sishir Kumar Dhungana, director general of the Department of Customs, said that imports surged relatively in the review period as the import of construction materials increased as the post-earthquake reconstruction works gathered momentum.

As per the Department of Customs, the country imported goods worth Rs 196.93 billion, which covered 65.26 per cent of the total import during the first four months of this fiscal.

Similarly, import from China stood at Rs 45.08 billion, which covered around 15 per cent of the total import.

In the review period, the country imported vehicles worth Rs 33.81 billion, petroleum products worth Rs 32.81 billion, iron and steel (Rs 29.63 billion), electrical and machinery equipment (Rs 25.98 billion), and machinery and mechanical appliances (Rs 23.84 billion), which are listed as top five import items.

Likewise, the country exported carpets worth Rs 2.85 billion, tea and coffee worth Rs 2.3 billion, garments and clothing accessories amounting to Rs 2.19 billion, manmade staple fibres worth Rs 1.87 billion and vegetables, nuts and parts of plants amounting to Rs 1.74 billion, according to the Department of Customs.