Automotive registers $1.27 bln trade surplus

Automotive registers $1.27 bln trade surplus

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Automotive registers $1.27 bln trade surplus

Domestically manufactured vehicles wait to be shipped at a port. The car industry recorded exports growth after months of decline. AA Photo

The Turkish automotive industry recorded a foreign trade surplus of nearly $1.27 billion in the first four months of the year, according to data by the Automotive Industry Association (OSD).

Automotive exports rose by 1 percent to reach nearly $5.4 billion in the period, while imports were down by 36 percent $4.12 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $1.26 billion.

“[The automotive sector] has a positive contribution on the country’s current account deficit at a time [when the] global economic crisis prevails in world markets,” said Kudret Önen, the head of the OSD.
A weak performance in exports was due to the economic crisis that has taken its toll on the European Union, Turkey’s largest market. The industry registered a trade deficit of nearly $1.38 billion in the first four months of the last year, he said.

“I think the trade surplus will increasingly continue in the upcoming period and will continue with its positive contribution on the current account deficit the whole year round,” he said.

Industry in forward gear

In a separate report by the Uludağ Union of Automotive Exporters (OİB) the Turkish automotive industry registered a 0.2 percent increase in exports in May, after falling 1 percent in March and 8 percent in April.

“It enabled our industry to shift down to forward gear with a 15 percent rise in private car exports thanks to big exports increases to alternative markets such as the United States with 49 percent rise, to Argentina with 293 percent rise and to Russia with 57 percent rise,” said Orhan Sabuncu, the head of OİB.

May’s automotive exports figure was $1.65 billion, according to the report. The automotive industry took 14 percent in overall exports with $11.8 billion last month leading the export industries.

Germany leads Turkey’s automotive export markets, to which exports increased by 13 percent to $256 million in May. Germany was followed by France and Italy.

Exports to France shrank by 17 percent to $185 million and to Italy exports plunged 29 percent to $137 million. Exports to Argentina amounted to $42 million and to Russia $77 million. Exports to Germany totaled to nearly $1.3 billion in the first five months with a 7 percent year-on-year increase

Domestic market shrinks

Sales of automotive products were down 21 percent to 285,000 in the first five months of this year over the same period a year earlier, according data provided by a Turkish association of automakers.

Sales of cars dropped 17 percent, to 194,000 as the light commercial vehicles market shrank by 29 percent with an overall sales volume of 76,000. Exports of automotive products were down 5 percent to 328,000, and export of cars decreased to 185,000, while the export of tractors was up 171 percent to 7,000.

A drop in domestic and foreign demand forced production down by 8 percent, to 469,000 and production of cars decreased 14 percent to 238,000.