KARACHI (June 21 2008): Soaring crude oil prices on the international front pushed the country’s oil import bill up to historic level of 10 billion dollars during July-May of the current fiscal year. Crude oil prices remained continuously on rise in the world market and during last week hit record highs of some 140 dollars per barrel in the face of increasing oil demand across the world amid low supply, analysts said.
The country’s local oil production only fulfils 15-20 percent demand, therefore, the country is relying on the imported oil, they added. Recently the government approached Saudi Arabia for resumption of oil supply on subsidised rates and according to unofficial sources, the neighbour country has agreed to fulfil Pakistan’s request, therefore it is expected that supply of oil on subsidised rates would help reduce the rising oil import bill, they added. As per official statistics, the petroleum group import bill grew by 52.21 percent during July-May of FY08 as compared to same period of FY07.
The overall petroleum import bill hit new peak of 10.094 billion dollars during July-May of FY08 as compared to oil import bill of 6.631 billion dollars during the same period of FY07, depicting an increase of 3.463 billion dollars during the period.
First time in the history of Pakistan, oil import bill touched 10 billion dollars due to rising oil prices in the world market and it is likely that by the end of current fiscal year, it would be around 11.50 billion dollars. The oil import during the first months is also overall import of last fiscal year, as during FY07 overall imports stood at peak level of 7.339 billion dollars.
Oil import bill – month on month – increased by 94 percent to 1.423 billion dollars during May 2008 over the import of some 735 million dollars during May 2007. In addition, import during May 2008 as compared to April 2008 also depicted an increase of 14 percent, as during April 2008 oil imports stood at 1.253 billion dollars.
The import of petroleum products surged by 60 percent to 5.486 billion dollars during July-May FY08 against the imports of some 3.43 billion dollars over the samme period of last fiscal year The import of crude oil surged by some 44 percent to 4.60 billion dollars during July-May of 2008 over 3.201 billion dollars in the corresponding period of FY07. The rising oil bill is also hurting the trade deficit, which has reached new peak level of 13.84 billion dollars during the first 11 months of FY08.