The Himalayan Times, 12 May 2017
The country’s trade deficit surged by 21.5 per cent in the first nine-month period of the ongoing fiscal.
In the review period, the country exported merchandise worth Rs 59.62 billion, while imports stood at Rs 874.88 billion. The mismatch between imports and exports resulted in trade deficit of Rs 815.26 billion.
According to the nine-month data unveiled by Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) here today, the trade deficit has surged significantly when compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal.
Comparing the year-on-year data of the nine-month period, the TEPC report shows that while Nepal’s total imports soared by 20.4 per cent, export growth remained tepid at 7.4 per cent.
The country’s export-import ratio in the ninth month of this fiscal had increased to 1:14.7 from 1:13.1 in the previous fiscal. This means that by the ninth month of this fiscal, for exports worth one rupee, Nepal was importing goods worth Rs 14.7.
Sarad Bickram Rana, executive director of TEPC, played down the concerns related to surging trade deficit. “Considering that the export volume has also gone up and that we have diversified our markets, the nine-month report is quite satisfactory.”
While India’s share in Nepal’s total imports rose in the review period, exports to the southern neighbour ticked up marginally. Nepal imported goods worth Rs 576.07 billion from India — the country’s largest trading partner — in first nine months of this fiscal that ended in mid-April, against exports worth Rs 34.17 billion.
Similarly, Nepal imported goods worth Rs 113.95 billion from China in the review period against exports of Rs 2.05 billion.
Likewise, Nepal imported goods worth Rs 184.88 billion from other countries, against exports worth Rs 23.39 billion.
In addition, the major export goods from Nepal included woollen carpets, readymade garments, hides and skins, lentils, cardamom, tea, ginger, noodles, pasta and like, medicinal herbs, and essential oils.
Even as carpet remained the top export commodity of the country, the export volume has dropped 10 per cent in the current fiscal. As per TEPC, the country exported carpets worth Rs 5.09 billion in fiscal year 2017-18, while its export had stood at Rs 5.65 billion in fiscal 2016-17.
Meanwhile, petroleum products were the major import goods, followed by iron and steel products, machinery and parts, transport vehicles and parts, cereals, electronic and electrical equipment and parts, gold, pharmaceutical products and cement clinkers.
According to TEPC, the import of petroleum products jumped by 34.2 per cent to Rs 117.29 billion in this fiscal. In the same time period of previous fiscal, Rs 87.39 billion worth of petroleum products had been imported.