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Pakistan July Imports Decline Amid Efforts to Bridge Trade Gap

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The value of Pakistan’s imports in July declined to $5 billion from $7.7 billion last month, reflecting the government’s efforts to stem the country’s “large” current account gap, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said.

The federal government is “determined to minimise the large current account deficit” left behind by its predecessor, the minister said in a Twitter post. Ismail didn’t provide an update on exports, although he had said earlier this week that July imports will be lower than the value of exports and remittances from other countries.

South Asian economies, including Pakistan -- heavily reliant on energy imports -- have been roiled by soaring prices of crude oil, natural gas and coal following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pakistan is seeking help from the International Monetary Fund to avoid a default and stave off fears of a protracted economic crisis like the one being witnessed in Sri Lanka.

A delay in an IMF bailout tranche and a shortage of dollars has pushed the rupee to record lows. The currency fell more than 14% against the dollar in July, ending Friday’s trading at 239 per greenback, the biggest monthly slide since Bloomberg started compiling data in 1989. It’s among the worst currency decliners globally for the month.

The pressure on the currency is expected to drop in the next two weeks, Ismail said separately in a news conference in Islamabad.

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