Islamabad: As imports continue to rise in Pakistan, the country's trade deficit has surged to USD 24.79 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year, mainly on the back of a 63 per cent year-on-year increase in imports, a media report said.

Data for the July-December period showed that imports jumped to USD 39.91 bn from USD 24.47 bn a year ago. In contrast, exports during July-December also grew 25 per cent to USD 15.13bn compared to the year-ago period, reported Dawn.

The imports in December stood at USD 6.9 bn, rising by 38 per cent compared to the same month a year ago. But, the figure was 13 per cent lower on a month-on-month basis, as imports during November were recorded at USD 7.93 billion, according to data compiled by research firm Arif Habib Limited, the Pakistani publication said further.

In December, the exports increased 17 per cent year-on-year to USD 2.76bn but dropped 5 per cent month-on-month from USD 2.9bn in November.

Pakistan's Adviser to the Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood tweeted on Sunday that early indications are that the growth in imports has started to decrease. He referred to a month-on-month drop of around USD 1bn in imports during December.

"Further details on categories of export and import during December 2021 will be shared soon as we compile them," he tweeted on Sunday.

It comes as the Imran Khan government is marred with criticism over the mini-budget and the rising inflation in the country with opposition leaders demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.