Trade deficit widens as import up nearly 55pc

Kathmandu, September 28

The country’s import surged by a staggering 54.9 per cent against the sluggish export growth of 1.2 per cent in the first two months (mid-July to mid-September) of this fiscal year.

Even though trade was affected in the last fiscal due to disturbances in the Tarai, the supply lines (from transit providing country — India) were disrupted only from the last week of September of last year.

According to the Department of Customs (DoC), the country imported goods worth Rs 149.23 billion against exports of Rs 13.1 billion in the two-month period. With this, the trade deficit widened further to stand at Rs 136.13 billion — an increment of 63.29 per cent as compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

During the review period, three products covered around 30 per cent of total import — vehicles and spare parts; petroleum products; and iron and steel. Nepal imported vehicles and spare parts worth Rs 16 billion, petroleum products amounting to Rs 14 billion and iron and steel of Rs 14 billion.

The country imported goods worth Rs 98 billion from southern neighbour India and Rs 20 billion from northern neighbour China.

Likewise, the country exported tea and coffee worth Rs 1.4 billion, carpets of Rs 1.4 billion and articles of apparel and clothing accessories worth Rs 1.1 billion in the first two months of the fiscal, according to DoC.

As the country’s import surged heavily against stagnant export growth, the export-to-import ratio stood at 1:11.4, which means the country has imported goods worth Rs 11.4 against export of one rupee. The total share of exports in total trade declined this fiscal to 8.1 per cent from 11.9 per cent of the same period of last fiscal.

Among the over 100 trading partner countries, Nepal has been enjoying trade surplus with United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Denmark, Hungary, Portugal, Greece, Mauritius, Venezuela, Laos, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kazakhstan.