Energy import falls, trade gap rises below forecasts
The foreign trade deficit rose to $7 billion in August, with a 17 percent increase from the same month a year earlier.Turkey’s foreign trade deficit was announced at $7.02 billion for August, with a 17 percent increase from the same month a year earlier, an amount that is below expectations due to the decrease in energy imports. The Economy Ministry pointed out that Turkey’s foreign trade data was parallel with the general stagnancy in foreign trade internationally.
The foreign trade deficit totaled $67.57 billion for the first eight months of the year, with an 18.3 percent increase from the same period last year, according to figures revealed by the state-run statistic body TÜİK yesterday.
Exports fell to $11.2 million in August with a 12.9 percent decrease from the same period of the previous year while imports fell to $18.2 million with only a 3.4 percent decrease. The exports coverage by imports fell from 68.1 percent to 61.4 percent.
“The main factor in August’s foreign trade figures, which exceeded expectations, is a decrease in oil imports,” HSBC Portfolio Strategist Ali Çakıroğlu told Reuters. But he added that this trend might reverse in September.
Turkey’s energy imports fell to $4.6 billion with a 14.4 percent decrease in the same period; it fell to $36.5 billion in the first eight months with a 7.5 percent decrease from the same period a year earlier.
Despite recent hikes, the progress of oil prices played a repressive role on the current account deficit, Odeabank Economic Researches Manager İnanç Sözer told Anadolu Agency. “After today’s figures, we foresee that the current account deficit will be around $2 billion in August, totaling to $56.7 billion for the last 12 months. We also expect the current account deficit for 2013 to be $59.7 billion,” he said.
International trade stagnant: Minister
The Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said international trade was very stagnant and they shouldn’t expect lively exports as foreign demand remained weak. “Turkey is following a parallel course with the stagnancy [that we are currently seeing] in global trade,” he said.
Çağlayan stressed that gold and precious stone exports decreased to $433 million in August from $2.4 billion from last August while imports rose to $732 billion. “Gold exports were $5.2 billion and imports were $12.4 billion in the first eight months, totaling a $7.2 billion gap while we had a gold trade surplus last year,” he said. This rise in gold imports is widening the current account deficit, he said.
Çağlayan also stated that they had been focused on increasing market diversity, adding that Turkey made an additional $43.6 billion in exports between 2009 and 2012.
The exports to the European Union reached $4.6 billion with a 6.8 percent increase. The share of the EU countries was 41.4 percent in August while it was 33.7 percent in August 2012. Turkey’s largest export partner was Germany with $1 billion at 4.1 percent, followed by Iraq with $874 million and the United Kingdom with $647 million.
Turkey’s largest import partner was Russia with $2 billion, followed by China at $1.8 billion and Germany with $1.673 billion.