SBP shows $1.27 billion less imports in balance of payments data
KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has shown over $1.27 billion less import bill in its balance of payments data released on Tuesday.
The data showed the import of goods for the quarter July-September 2021/22 at $17.47 billion, while the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) revealed that the import bill of the country was $18.74 billion for the quarter under review.
According to the balance of payments position, the current account deficit of the country was recorded at $3.4 billion for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, compared with the current account surplus of $865 million in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal year.
The variation in trade data was not only in the first quarter of the current year; the import bill of the same quarter in the last fiscal year had also shown gaps.
The import bill of July-September 2020/21, as per the SBP, is $10.637 billion, whereas, the PBS recorded the imports of $11.286 billion, showing a difference of $649 million.
Similarly, the export data for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, as per central bank figures, stood at $7.24 billion, compared with the PBS data of $6.997 billion. The export data for the first quarter of the last fiscal year, as per the SBP, stood at $5.35 billion, while the PBS has reported the exports of $5.47 billion.
Both the government agencies have shown different numbers of trade deficit for the period. As per the State Bank, the trade deficit is $11.75 billion, while the PBS has shown a trade deficit of $10.23 billion for the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
On the basis of these numbers, the current account deficit for September 2021 narrowed to $1.113 billion, compared with the deficit of $1.473 billion in the previous month, i.e., August 2021.
Interestingly, the balance of payments data was released on the public holiday and just ahead of the final round of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) talks.
Abid Qamar, chief spokesman for the State Bank of Pakistan, clarifying the gaps in the data, said that the balance of payments data was only released by the central bank.
There might be some variation in the SBP and PBS numbers. The SBP records data on the basis of payments and receipts. “The BOP [balance of payment] shows import payments and export receipts actually made or received for the period,” he added.
Qamar also explained that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics recorded the data on the basis of goods clearance at the Customs stage.
“The PBS takes data from Pakistan Customs on the basis of goods physically exported or imported during a period,” he added.
The SBP spokesman said there might be different numbers of trade but by the year-end all the data would be reconciled.
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