Trade deficit has continued to balloon in the first seven months of the current fiscal year 2013-14 as it has increased by 25.3 per cent to Rs 339.81 billion, according to the central bank.
The country had imported Rs 316.20 billion and exported Rs 44.98 billion worth merchandise, the central bank data revealed, adding that trade deficit with India increased by 26 per cent while with other countries rose by 23.9 per cent.
Spread rate drops
Likewise, the interest rate spread of commercial banks stood at 6.76 per cent in mid-February 2014, slightly down from the 6.85 per cent in the previous month, though the central bank has asked the banks to bring it down to five per cent by the end of current fiscal year. Spread rate refers to the difference between borrowing and lending rates.
Inflation at 8.8 per cent
The year-on-year inflation as measured by the consumer price index increased by 8.8 per cent in mid-February compared to 10.1 per cent in the same period of the last fiscal year, the central bank said, adding that the inflation cooled down due to non-food and services.
BoP surplus, remittance up
The overall balance of payment (BoP) posted a surplus of Rs 95.78 billion in the seven months of current fiscal year 2013-14 against a surplus of Rs 1.59 billion in the same period last fiscal year 2012-13. The current account surplus of Rs 67.24 billion – against a deficit of Rs 1.70 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year – has contributed to the Balance of Payment.
The central bank attributed the increase in surplus in the current account to a substantial rise in net services, net income and grants as well as high growth in workers’ remittances to the BoP surplus. Likewise, workers’ remittance surged by 38.6 per cent to Rs 311.91 billion in the seven months. “In US dollar terms, remittance inflow increased by 21.5 per cent to $ 3.14 billion,” it added.
Budget surplus up
The government budget stood at Rs 49.67 billion surplus in the seventh month of the current fiscal year 2013-14 against Rs 39.14 billion in the same period of thee last fiscal year due to government’s inability in spending but increasing revenue mobilisation. The government has been able to mobilise Rs 188.91 billion against Rs 1154.88 billion in the same period last fiscal year 2013-13. But the government has been able to spend only Rs 169.79 billion in cash basis – Rs 141.11 billion recurrent expenditure and Rs 13.11 billion in capital expenditure – in seven months. Likewise, the government has received foreign cash loans of Rs 11.31 billion and foreign cash grants of Rs 23.39 billion against Rs 2.29 billion and Rs 11.71 billion, respectively, in the same period of the last fiscal year.