Tough days ahead for Turkey's exporters, says minister

Tough days ahead for Turkey's exporters, says minister

ANKARA/ MUĞLA - Anadolu Agency
Tough days ahead for Turkeys exporters, says minister

Turkey’s exports increased by 1.3 percent in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period of last year, but more is needed for Turkey to reach its annual export target. REUTERS photo

Turkey’s exports reached $98.8 billion in the first eight months of the year, a 1.3 percent increase compared to the same period of last year, despite global economic fluctuations, Turkey’s Exporters Assembly (TİM) announced in the Aegean province of Muğla at the weekend.

“There are many global obstacles that hinder Turkey from being able to reach its $158 billion annual export target. We have all faced a real recession in the global economy since the beginning of the year, worsening for the last couple of months. All these have negatively affected external demand,” Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said in a written statement.

“The last months of the year appear to be worse than the first eight months for exporters,” he added.

Çağlayan also noted that the decreasing value of the Turkish Lira against the euro and dollar was not that advantageous for Turkish exporters as many other currencies lost value dramatically. “The change in exchange rates also causes the rise in the imported input prices, pushing the export prices up,” he said.

There have been some strong signs showing recovery in the developed markets for the last couple of months. “Foreign trade numbers however have not been that good yet,” TİM head Mehmet Büyükekşi said. Excluding China, the export figures of 69 countries have regressed 0.1 percent, according to TİM numbers.

“Turkey has shown relatively good performance with a 1.3 percent increase in export numbers and a 5 percent increase in goods, but we need to increase our exports by 11 percent to be able to reach our annual target,” Büyükekşi noted.

Turkey exported goods and services worth $10.5 billion in August, marking a 1.4 percent increase compared to the same month last year, increasing its exports to the European Union (EU) by 5.8 percent.

“While the EU has imported less goods and services from abroad, Turkey’s exports to the EU have been increasing. We exported goods and services worth $4.4 billion to the EU in August,” Çağlayan said.

Turkey’s exports to the Middle East, however, decreased by 16.9 percent to $1.9 billion. Turkey’s five biggest export markets in August were Germany, Iraq, Britain, Russia and France, totaling around $4.5 billion.

Turkey’s exports to Syria soar

Some countries’ shares in Turkish export numbers were surprisingly high in August. For instance, Turkey’s exports to Ethiopia increased by 262 percent, to Lithuania by 136 percent, and to Malta by 117 percent.

“Our exports to Syria increased by 134 percent. As our exports to the country were almost zero last year, any rise in exports has appeared to be big proportionally,” Büyükekşi said, adding that Turkey’s exports to Egypt increased by 13 percent in August, despite all the difficulties.

The export champion was the automotive sector, worth $1.26 billion in August. The sector was followed by chemicals and the ready-made clothing sectors.

Meanwhile Turkey’s foreign trade gap widened in July, as the imports’ rise dwarfed the slight increase in exports by a factor of four, with the spur of an unexpected surge in car and energy imports. Turkey recorded a trade deficit of $9.81 billion in July, marking a 22.5 percent rise from last year’s same period, according to data released last week by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK). While imports have jumped by 10 percent, Turkish exporters could only manage to raise their trade by 2.2 percent and sent $13.1 billion worth of goods abroad. The seven-month deficit, meanwhile, soared 18.3 percent to reach $60.46 billion. And the dramatic rise in Turkey’s gold imports appears to have played a big role in the rise this year.