The Himalayan Times, 9 June 2017
The total trade deficit of the country in first 10 months of this fiscal has widened by 37.5 per cent to Rs 747.65 billion as against a contraction of 2.4 percent in the same period of last fiscal, shows the macroeconomic and financial situation report unveiled by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) today.
However, the export-import ratio has declined to 7.5 percent in the review period this fiscal year from 9.3 percent in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.
The merchandise exports in the first 10 months of 2016-17 have increased by 9.8 per cent to Rs 61.02 billion as against a drop by 21.7 percent in the corresponding period of 2015-16. During the review period, export to India, China, and other countries increased by 15 per cent, 5.6 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively. Similarly, the merchandise imports in the review period increased by 34.9 per cent to Rs 808.68 billion compared to a drop of 4.6 percent in the same period of the previous year.
The NRB macroeconomic report also shows that workers’ remittances have increased 5.2 per cent to Rs 566.97 billion in the review period compared to a growth of 10.2 percent in the corresponding period of the previous year. Consequently, net transfer receipts have increased by 10.3 per cent to Rs 692.76 billion in the review period. Such receipts had increased by 11.8 percent in the same period of last fiscal year.
Owing to the sharp rise in import and slow growth of remittance, current account slipped into deficit by Rs 7.57 billion in the review period. For comparison, the current account was in surplus at a significant level of Rs 134.30 billion in the same period of the previous year. However, the overall balance of payments (BoP) recorded a surplus of Rs 53.84 billion in the review period.
“Expected increase in foreign aid and foreign direct investment will keep country’s BoP in surplus in near term,” NRB report states.
Similarly, the country recorded capital transfer of Rs 11.30 billion and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows of Rs 11.61 billion in the review period this year. In the same period of the previous year, capital transfer and FDI inflows stood at Rs 11.59 billion and Rs 4.64 billion, respectively.
Meanwhile, NRB report has stated the economy is gaining traction. “The GDP growth estimate of 6.9 percent released by Central Bureau of Statistics recently is reflective of optimistic growth outlook, at least in near term.”