Foreign trade deficit plunges 27 pct in April

Foreign trade deficit plunges 27 pct in April

Foreign trade deficit plunges 27 pct in April

A container ship at the İzmir Port is seen in this file photo. The downward trend in Turkey’s current account deficit continued in April, data show.

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit decreased by 27.3 percent in April, according to official data, as exports to the European Union, Turkey’s largest exports market, witnessed a substantial fall due to deteriorating market conditions in the crisis-hit region.

The foreign trade data shows that the declining trend in foreign trade deficit continues, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said, according to a press release issued yesterday by the ministry.

“The trade balance sheet for the last 12 months shows a $99.1 billion deficit, which falls to $48.7 billion when energy [imports] are excluded,” Çağlayan said. Turkey is heavily dependent on external sources of oil and natural gas.

Exports were up by 6.8 percent, reaching about $12.6 billion, while imports were down 8 percent compared with April 2011, at about $19.3 billion, the Turkish Statistical Institute said yesterday. The foreign trade deficit decreased from $9 billion to around $6.6 billion.

According to calendar-adjusted data, exports increased by 10.4 percent, while imports fell 4.2 percent between the same compared periods. Seasonally and calendar-adjusted exports increased by 6.4 percent and imports decreased by 0.8 percent compared with March.

EU’s share in exports

“In April 2012 exports coverage imports was 65.8 percent while it was 56.7 percent in April 2011,” TÜİK said in its monthly report.

Exports to the EU were at $4.7 billion in April, plunging 17.8 percent compared with the same month of the previous year. The proportion of exports to EU countries as part of total exports sank to 37.6 percent in April 2012, from 48.9 percent in April 2011.

Çağlayan said the falling share of exports to the EU and the increase in exports overall show that efforts to diversify export markets have been successful.

Turkey’s main export partner was Iran, with about $1.47 billion, growing by 438.2 percent in annual comparison. Iran was followed by Germany with $1.1 billion, Iraq with $806 million, the United Kingdom with $651 million, and Russia with $536 million.

As for imports, Russia was the top country with nearly $2 billion last month, followed by Germany with $1.6 billion, China with $1.58 billion and Iran with $1.5 billion.

Top categories for imports were “mineral fuels and oils” at $4.9 billion, “boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances” at $2 billion, “iron and steel” at nearly $1.8 billion and “electrical machinery and equipment” at $1.3 billion.

Industrial products constituted 94.1 percent of total exports, amounting to $11.9 billion in April, as compared with $11.2 billion in April 2011. The largest import category was intermediary goods, accounting for $14.3 billion.

 In terms of export categories, “pearls, precious stones, precious metals and articles made thereof” recorded the highest amount with $1.5 billion, while the top category for imports was “mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation,” with $4.9 billion.