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Pakistan trade deficit to increase by over $4.16bn in 2024-25: IMF

Pakistan trade deficit to increase by over $4.16bn in 2024-25: IMF

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Imports to hover around $60.48bn against exports of $32.76bn

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ISLAMABAD (Dunya News/Web Desk) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted an increase in Pakistan’s trade deficit during the next fiscal year, sources say, as Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb is set to present the 2024-25 budget next week.

Pakistan will see the trade deficit jumping by $4.165 billion in FY25, says the Washington-based lender at a time when two sides held talks in Islamabad for another IMF programme.

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Although the dialogue did not produce a staff-level agreement, the IMF noted that a significant progress had been made towards reaching a deal for an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The statement was issued after an IMF team, led by mission chief Nathan Porter, concluded discussions with the authorities after arriving in Pakistan on May 13.

"The mission and the authorities will continue policy discussions virtually over the coming days aiming to finalise discussions, including the financial support needed to underpin the authorities' reform efforts from the IMF and Pakistan's bilateral and multilateral partners," Porter said.

Pakistan is likely to seek at least $6b under the new programme and request additional financing from the IMF under the Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which covers climate funding.

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Ahead of the discussions, the IMF had warned that the downside risks for the Pakistani economy remained exceptionally high.

"The authorities' reform program aims to move Pakistan from economic stabilization to strong, inclusive, and resilient growth," Porter added.

Coming back to the trade deficit, the IMF has estimated that Pakistan’s imports will increase by $5.517bn and the exports by $1.352bn.

As far as the overall figures are concerned, the IMF says Pakistan is likely to have imports worth $60.48bn against the exports of $32.76bn, which translates into a trade deficit of around $27.72bn.

On the other hand, sources in finance ministry revealed that Pakistan was likely to witness a trade deficit of $23.76bn during the outgoing fiscal year, with the country exports projected to reach $31.20bn.