Exports from Afghanistan increased by seven percent in the first quarter of 2023, the World Bank said in a new report released Tuesday.
Based on unofficial Afghanistan customs data, exports in the first quarter of 2023 reached US$ 0.5 billion, with a 7 percent growth compared to Q1-2022, the report said.
As food exports remain stable, the increase can be attributed primarily to coal (by 26 percent) and textiles by 28 percent.
During Q1-2023, Pakistan remained Afghanistan’s largest export market (accounting for 60 percent of total exports), followed by India (24 percent).
Exports to Pakistan are mainly food and coal, contributing around 72 percent of total exports in Q1–2023. Coal exports to Pakistan reached US$ 111.6 million in Q1-2023 (compared to US$ 476 million in 2022 and US$ 88 million in Q1-2022).
The report also said that during the first quarter of 2023, imports stood at $1.8 billion, reflecting 32 percent growth.
The trade deficit reached $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2023, a 45 percent growth. However, the UN cash shipments for the period (US$ 560 million) cover only less than half of the merchandise trade deficit, the report said.
The inflationary pressures eased substantially from year-on-year, with inflation recorded at 3.5 percent in February.
The Afghani currency appreciated against all currencies. Between February 4 – April 18, 2023, the Afghani currency appreciated by 5.4 percent against the US dollar.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) continues to exert strong controls on the illegal export of foreign currency, strengthening the Afghani rate. At the same time, the United Nations make US dollars available in the market through cash shipments (US$ 560 million were shipped to Afghanistan in Q1 2023 against a cumulative – US$ 1.8 billion in 2022), the report said.