Despite the impact of COVID-19, Nepal’s international commerce increased by 79.71 percent in the first month of the current fiscal year 2021-2022, which began in mid-July, according to data from the Department of Customs.
Exports increased by 115.85% year on year to 20.76 billion Nepali rupees (177.22 million dollars), while imports increased by 75.66 percent to 150.73 billion rupees (1.28 billion dollars).
“In comparison to the same period last fiscal year, both commercial and industrial operations were allowed to function comparatively unrestrictedly during the first month of this fiscal year,” Punya Bikram Khadka, information officer at the department, told Xinhua. ” We have learned to live with the virus while conducting economic activity after more than a year after the epidemic struck the country in early 2020.”
When the fiscal year 2020-21 began on July 22, last year, Nepal lifted an almost four-month-long nationwide lockdown. Despite the fact that the country was hit hard by the second wave of the coronavirus this year, the government did not re-impose a nationwide lockdown, instead allowing local authorities to proceed on their own.
With fewer COVID-19 cases recorded, local officials relaxed the restrictions, and the lockdown in the Kathmandu Valley’s three districts was lifted.
According to Khadka, a large supply of palm oil to India, which is essentially re-export, bolstered Nepal’s exports.
According to the agency, the increase in imports was due to increased demand for medical equipment, electronic items such as cellphones and computers, gold, petroleum products, and vehicles, among other things, as a result of the pandemic.
In the first month of the current fiscal year, Nepal’s trade with India and China, its two main trading partners, increased dramatically.
In the same period of the previous fiscal year, the country imported goods worth 89.48 billion rupees (763.87 million dollars) from India, while exports totaled 16.86 billion rupees (143.93 million dollars), compared to 56.39 billion rupees (481.38 million dollars) and 6.31 billion rupees (53.86 million dollars) respectively.
Nepal’s imports and exports to China increased to 209.70 billion rupees (1.79 billion dollars) and 82.78 million rupees (706,718 dollars) correspondingly, up from 111.78 billion rupees (954.24 million dollars) and 56.01 million rupees (478,145 dollars).
During this time, Nepal had a trade deficit of 70.59 percent.
“If the trade gap continues to increase, it will put pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves,” said Nara Bahadur Thapa, former executive director of Nepal Rastra Bank, the country’s central bank.