Trade deficit swells to Rs 349.84b in Q1

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 27, 2018-

Nepal’s trade deficit swelled to Rs349.84 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. The figure represents a 46 percent increase in the negative trade balance compared to the same period in 2017-18.  

As per the statistics of the Department of Customs, the country recorded heavy trade deficits with its major trading partners. Nepal’s exports inched up 16.08 percent to Rs23.74 billion in contrast to a 43.57 percent surge in imports to Rs373.58 billion in the first three months of the fiscal year.

The export to import ratio was recorded at 1:15.7, which means Nepal imported Rs15.7 worth of goods for every rupee worth of goods exported. The ratio stood at 1:12.7 during the same period in the last fiscal year.

Nepal enjoyed a trade surplus with 28 countries among its 137 trade partners. Among the countries with which Nepal enjoyed a high trade surplus are the US, Central African Republic, Norway, Finland and Austria. The amount of trade conducted with these countries is very low compared to the major trading partners.  

Suyash Khanal, deputy executive director of the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), said an increase in the number of Nepalis residing in these countries and a greater number of traders looking for alternative markets to boost their exports led to the positive trade balance with these countries.

Nepal had the highest trade surplus of Rs668.32 million with the US. Nepal earned Rs3.19 billion from exports and spent Rs2.52 billion on imports from the US during the review period. According to the TEPC, woollen carpets, pashmina and handicraft products made of beads, crystal glass and handmade paper are among the largest selling Nepali products in the US.

Nepal had a high trade deficit with a majority of its trade partners. The country imported goods worth Rs236.12 billion from India while exports to the southern neighbour came to a paltry Rs13.16 billion.

According to a study conducted by South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment in 2012, para-tariffs such as countervailing duty, special additional duty and their non-transparent applications along with a number of non-tariff measures are responsible for the slow growth of Nepali exports to India.

Nepal also suffered a negative trade balance of Rs52.55 billion with China, its second largest trading partner. Other countries with which it had a high trade deficit are France, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand.

Nepal’s Trade Deficit by Country

Countries     Trade Balance

India    -Rs222.95 billion

China     -Rs52.55 billion

France    -Rs13.91 billion

UAE    -Rs7.87 billion

Thailand    -Rs4.32 billion

Nepal’s Trade Surplus by Country

Countries     Trade Balance

US    Rs668.32 million

Central African Republic     Rs277.46 million

Norway    Rs25.96 million

Finland    Rs19.43 million

Austria    Rs16.79 million

Statistics: The Department of Customs

Published: 27-10-2018 08:29

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