KATHMANDU, June 15: In a recent statistics released by the Department of Customs (DoC) based on data from 23 major ports of Nepal, trade deficit of the country has risen to Rs 1,099.6 billion in the first 10 months of the current Fiscal Year 2018/19.
While Nepal imported goods worth Rs 1,178.14 billion between mid-July 2018 to mid-May 2019, the country exported goods worth Rs 78.53 billion in the period. The ballooning deficit has caused the imports-to-exports ratio to rise to 15 percent compared to 14.7 percent during the corresponding period last year.
Highest value of goods are imported into the country from India, with a net 64.6 percent of the total imports' cost going to the southern neighbor. Likewise, 14.4 percent of the total cost went to China and 2.5 percent to UAE, among others.
On the other hand, India accounts for 64.1 percent of the Nepali exports, followed by the USA, Germany, and Turkey, respectively.
In the 10-month period, Nepal imported fuel at the highest cost, summing up to Rs 206.11 billion, with iron and steel, and machinery & mechanical appliances following suit at Rs 119.87 billion and Rs 100.55 billion, respectively.
Similarly, Nepal exported vegetable oil for the highest net total at Rs 8.97 billion. The major export produce was followed by manmade staple fiber at Rs 8.21 billion, coffee and tea at Rs 6.86 billion, followed by carpet, and iron and steel at Rs 6.37 billion and Rs 5.18 billion, respectively.
Among its trade figures with different countries, Nepal holds the highest deficit with India at Rs 711.08 billion, followed by China and the UAE, with the deficits standing at Rs 169.22 billion and Rs 29.83 billion, respectively.
Largest quantities of imports entered the country via Birgunj Customs Office, amounting to Rs 408.08 billion at 34.64 percent, and the least imports value at Rs 28.7 million from Sati office.
Meanwhile, Nepal exports the highest goods accounting to 29.5 percent of the total exports through Biratnagar Customs Office.
Nepal enjoys a surplus with a number of countries including Bermuda, Azerbaijan and Panama among others, with Central African Republic topping the list at Rs 275.85 million.
The news of deficit rise comes despite the government's efforts in reducing deficits with various protectionist and restrictive policies.
The government's scheme of promoting domestic production and encouraging exports through various incentives has failed to turn the tables of trade imbalance in favor the country.