The country added a trade deficit of Rs 88.89 billion in the eighth month of the current fiscal year.
Trade deficit stood at Rs 340.65 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year 2012-13, up from Rs 251.76 billion in seven months, revealed data from the Trade and Export Promotion Centre.
Trade deficit increased by 28 per cent in eight months (mid-July to mid-March) against the same period last fiscal year, according to the data, which has exposed the alarming trade deficit that has been ballooning due to increasing imports and poor export performance.
The Central Bureau of Statistics has also projected a growth of 1.85 per cent in the current fiscal year as against last fiscal year's growth of 3.63 per cent.
The poor performance of the manufacturing sector is going to bring the export capacity down, further widening the trade deficit. Besides, the perennial load-shedding coupled with frequent bandhs have reduced the production capacity of industries to almost half. According to the central bank's study, industries have been operating at 58 per cent of their capacity.
The country witnessed a 2.6 per cent growth of merchandise exports to Rs 50.22 billion in the eight months as compared to the same period last fiscal year, whereas imports jumped by 24 per cent to Rs 390.87 billion, making a trade deficit of Rs 340.65 billion, the data revealed. "Total exports increased by Rs 1.29 billion in the eighth month as compared to the same period last fiscal year, when the country had exported merchandise worth Rs 48.93 billion."
Exports to India — the largest trade partner — increased by a mere 0.3 per cent to Rs 33.31 billion, whereas imports skyrocketed by 25.7 per cent to Rs 255.79 billion by mid-March.
Petroleum products — the largest import of the country — from India stood at Rs 69.72 billion, which is more than the country's total export receipt.
Likewise, the country imported Rs 46.5 billion worth merchandise from China — the second largest import market — whereas Nepal exported a mere Rs 1.62 billion worth of merchandise to China.
Exports of iron and steel, lentils and black cardamom increased, whereas woollen carpets, readymade garments, toothpaste, essential oil, yarn and handmade paper dropped.
Likewise, imports of petroleum products, gold, electronics, vehicles, and pharmaceuticals looked up, according to the data.
Poor performance of NTIS products
KATHMANDU: Among the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) products, export of honey has plunged by 97.5 per cent to Rs 5,000 in eight months of the current fiscal year as compared to the same period last fiscal, when the country had exported honey worth Rs 215,000. Similarly, export of articles of silver jewellery has also dropped by 42.4 per cent to Rs 99.40 million from Rs 172.44 million in the same period last fiscal year. However, export of iron and steel products increased by 7.2 per cent to Rs 8.04 billion from last fiscal year's Rs 7.50 billion, according to data from the Trade and Export Promotion Centre.
Imports of some luxurious products
Merchandise — 2011-12 — 2012-13
Gold and silver — Rs 19.28 billion — Rs 23.79 billion
Cosmetics — Rs 1.89 billion — Rs 2.41 billion
Tobacco — Rs 1.32 billion — Rs 1.41 billion
Alcohol products — Rs 0.83 billion — Rs 1.18 billion
Energy drinks — Rs 0.39 billion — Rs 0.55 billion(Figures for eight months of subsequent fiscal years. Source: Trade and Export Promotion Centre.)