Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 17:40 UK

Pakistan sees wider trade deficit

Pakistan rupee notes

Pakistan's trade gap with the rest of the world widened in August, partly becasue of a lorry driver strike.

Analysts said the week-long action by lorry drivers at the port of the country's capital Karachi disrupted millions of dollars worth of exports.

This helped push the deficit to $1.87bn (1bn) in August from $1.64bn in July.

The rising cost of food and oil imports has also been blamed on the swelling trade deficit, up more than 50% in the 2007-08 financial year.

The soaring cost of foreign fuel pushed the import bill for crude oil and petrol products up by more than 66% to $11.35bn in the 12 months to end of July, compared with $7.33bn the previous year.

Meanwhile, the food import bill more than doubled to $4.2bn in 2007-08, from $2.7bn in 2006-07.

While imports were marginally down month-on-month in August, they climbed 21% from the year before.

Analysts say the rising import bill has cut into Pakistan's foreign currency reserves, which now stand at less than $10bn - about half the level they were at in October last year.

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