Thursday, August 30, 2012

Annual trade deficit exceeds total budget

The country recorded a trade deficit that was more than the budget and received remittance almost equal to it in the last fiscal year 2011-12.
Nepal imported merchandise worth Rs 461.67 billion in the last fiscal year, whereas it exported merchandise worth Rs 74.26 billion, thus widening the trade deficit to Rs 387.41 billion, the central bank's annual data revealed. The country's total budget for the last fiscal year stood at Rs 384.9 billion.
The country imports six times more than it exports, primarily due to a large increase in the import of petroleum products and gold, it said, adding that the country imported petroleum products worth Rs 92.25 billion — that is Rs 17.99 billion more than the total export receipt of the country — and gold worth Rs 25.77 billion in the last fiscal year.
However, the overall Balance of Payments (BoP) recorded its highest ever surplus of Rs 127.70 billion — also due to improvement in services account, and current account coupled with the highest inflow of remittance — in comparison to a surplus of Rs 2.18 billion a fiscal year back, the report added.
"The current account posted a surplus of Rs 75.98 billion as compared to a deficit of Rs 12.94 billion a fiscal year ago, whereas net service account witnessed a surplus of Rs 14.06 billion in contrast to a deficit of Rs 8.67 billion a fiscal year back."
Under services, tourism income rose by 24.8 per cent as compared to a decline by 12.5 per cent a fiscal year ago. Net transfers registered a growth of 37.3 per cent to Rs 422.77 billion, and workers' remittance surged by 41.8 per cent to Rs 359.55 billion as compared to a growth of 9.4 per cent a fiscal year back, according to the central bank.
Due to the increase in remittance inflow and weakening rupee, the gross foreign exchange reserves surged by 61.5 per cent to Rs 439.46 billion in mid-July 2012 from a level of Rs 272.15 billion as of mid-July 2011.
"Of the total reserves, Nepal Rastra Bank's reserves increased by 76.2 per cent to Rs 375.52 billion from a level of Rs 213.10 billion as of mid-July 2011," the central bank said. In US dollar terms, the reserves of convertible foreign exchange increased by 24.4 per cent to $3.87 billion in mid-July 2012 from the level witnessed in mid-July 2011.
Likewise, the reserves in terms of inconvertible foreign exchange increased by 88 per cent to IRs 60.39 billion. "On the basis of the current trend of imports, the existing level of reserves is sufficient for financing merchandise imports for 11.6 months, and merchandise and service imports for 10.3 months, the central bank added.
FDI drops to Rs 7.14 billion
KATHMANDU: The prolonged political transition in the country pulled down the commitment of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last fiscal year. "The Department of Industry granted approvals to 227 joint venture projects with a FDI commitment of Rs 7.14 billion in 2011-12 as compared to Rs 10.05 billion a fiscal year back," the central bank data revealed, adding that out of 227 registered projects, some 106 are service related, 64 tourism, 31 manufacturing, 15 agriculture, seven mineral and four energy related projects. The number of joint venture projects increased by 8.6 percent while the investment amount has decreased by 29 per cent, it said, adding that of the total 227 projects approved in the review year, the largest numbers were from China (77), followed by India (24), USA (24) and South Korea (21). "These projects were expected to generate direct employment opportunities for 9,050 people."
Average inflation at 8.3 per cent
KATHMANDU: The annual average consumer price inflation increased by 8.3 per cent in fiscal year 2011-12 as compared to an increase of 9.6 per cent in fiscal year 2010-11. The price index of food and beverages group increased by 7.7 per cent whereas the index of non-food and services group increased by 9 per cent witnessing relatively lower price rise in the review period as compared to the previous year. The indices of food and beverages and non-food and services had increased by 14.7 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively in fiscal year 2010-11. 


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