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Pakistani exports to India grow despite border tensions

IANS | Islamabad |

Despite mounting tension along the border, the trade between Pakistan and India has remained intact since the beginning of the current fiscal year, a media report said on Friday.

A report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) revealed that Pakistan grew its exports to India during the first eight months of 2016-17 while curtailing imports by 23 per cent, Dawn online reported.

The trade balance, however, remained in favour of India.

The two countries have long been locked in a bitter rivalry. But worsening political relations seem to have little impact on bilateral trade relations, according to trade analysts.

After growing by 14 per cent, exports from Pakistan to India amounted to $286 million in the July-February period. Imports from India fell 23 per cent to $958.3 million from $1,244 million recorded a year ago, the SBP report said.

One reason for Pakistan's improved exports to India is high cement demand in the neighbouring country. 

This has offset the negative impact of a decline in Pakistan's cement exports to Afghanistan and South Africa, reports Dawn online.

The SBP said cement exports continued their downward trend, with the largest share in the year-on-year decline in the first half of 2016-17 originating from two markets – South Africa and Afghanistan.

"A slight consolation was continued strong demand for Pakistani cement from India. This partially offset the declines witnessed in the two other major markets," the SBP report said.

Meanwhile in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, Pakistan recorded a trade deficit of $672 million with India. 

The deficit was $993 million in the same period of the last fiscal year.

Imports from India in 2015-16 were worth over four times the exports from Pakistan, a five-year high. 

Pakistan imported goods worth $1.8 billion in 2015-16 compared to the exports of just $400 million, the SBP report added.