New markets strategy boosts January exports in Turkey

New markets strategy boosts January exports in Turkey

BURSA - Hurriyet Daily News
New markets strategy boosts January exports in Turkey

Women are at work at a marble factory in Muğla. Facilities in the Western province sell marble to 30 countries, generating an annual export volume of $240 million.

Turkish exports, driven by strong automotive sector, stood at $10.55 billion in January with a nearly 10 percent jump from the same month a year earlier, according to yesterday’s data provided by Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM).

However, exports fell sharply last month from December 2011 exports of $12.1 billion, a 37-month high.

“Turkey has to improve exports by 12 percent every year,” said Mehmet Büyükekþi, head of TÝM, during a press meeting in Inegöl town in northwestern province Bursa. “We are shaping up. Our exporters are roaming across the world.”

Figures show that Turkey has started to “reap the fruits of its strategy to diversify markets and enter new ones,” Economy Minister Zafer Çaglayan said in a press release yesterday. The minister said Turkish exports in 2011 increased 18.5 percent from 2010 to $135 billion, exceeding the official target in the country’s medium term program.

Sales to NAFTA increase

North America Free Trade Agreement (NATFA) countries -the U.S., Mexico and Canada- are not that far anymore for Turkish exporters, Çaðlayan said, adding that sales to these countries increased by 52.9 percent in January from the same month in 2010, reaching $535 million.

The $1.61 billion rise from the same month in 2011 pushed January’s automotive exports up by 8.1. Still, the sum was below $1.77 billion in December last year. Chemical products sales jumped by $1.31 billion and in the steel industry by 1.26 billion from January 2011.

Turkey’s industrial exports constituted 83 percent of the country’s total exports last month with $8.76 billion. Agricultural exports stood at $1.52 billion with 14.4 percent. The share of the mining sector was $276 million with a 2.6 percent share. Germany remained as Turkey’s top exports market with $1.04 billion with a fall from $1.16 billion in December 2011.

The Turkish Lira’s fluctuation is hurting exports, Büyükeksi said, claiming that the Central Bank should sustain a balance of 1.7 or 1.8 liras per U.S. dollar.

The lira strengthened yesterday as a fall in a manufacturing gauge and rise in exports signaled cooling domestic demand. Turkish currency appreciated 0.4 percent to 1.77 per dollar during midday trading, advancing for a second day to lift this year’s gain to 6.8 percent. Turkey’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 51.7 in January from 52.0 in December, according to Markit Economics.