Current account: Surplus hits 17-year high

It remains in surplus for third month in a row at $73m in September

Pakistan’s current account balance – the difference between government’s foreign income and expenditure – remained in surplus for the third month in a row at $73 million in September 2020, creating history with a 17-year high surplus in the July-September quarter.

“Great news for Pakistan. We are headed in the right direction finally. The current account was in surplus of $73 million during September, bringing surplus for the first quarter to $792 million compared to a deficit of $1,492 million during the same time last year. Exports grew 29% and remittances grew 9% over the previous month (August),” Prime Minister Imran Khan stated on his official Twitter handle.

The surplus in September was surprising as economists had expected a deficit following the widening of trade gap – higher imports than exports. “The September 2020 current account balance came in better than expected, where largely a deficit was expected based on earlier released numbers by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) for trade balance,” Topline Research said in its comments.

PBS reported a trade deficit of $700 million in September compared to the previous month of August, while the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported the deficit at $140 million, it noted.

“The discrepancy exists because the central bank relies on receipts and payments of foreign exchange for compiling its data while the PBS monitors the physical movement of goods. The impact of this may be reflected in the October current account balance.”


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