Quake-hit provinces lost $2.5 bln in export revenues

Quake-hit provinces lost $2.5 bln in export revenues

Quake-hit provinces lost $2.5 bln in export revenues

The provinces that were hit by the powerful earthquakes in February have also suffered $2.5 billion loss in export revenues, according to the Southeast Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association (GATHİB).

The quake-hit provinces are specialized in textiles and apparel.

Exports from the province of Gaziantep were $10.5 billion last year, while export revenues of the entire region was $12.5 billion last year, said Ahmet Fikret Kileci, the president of GATHİB.

“We set the export revenue target at $15 billion for 2023. Our loss in exports due to the earthquakes is around $2.5 billion.”

He noted that they had to revise their targets two or three times after the earthquakes. “Export performance was very strong in January, with exports rising 16 percent. Then the disaster hit.”

Exports from the region recovered slightly in March and June saw a significant increase, he said.

“However, things got worse in the following month due to developments unrelated to our region. There are turmoil, wars, and economic recession in our main export markets,” Kileci explained.

Food and packaging companies in the region are doing much better compared to textile firms, he added.

“Maybe, you can go without buying clothes for five years, but you cannot cut on health, food, and education spending. People’s priority is not clothing anymore.”

Kileci welcomed the government’s new medium-term program as “realistic and reasonable.”

“However, there are still some hurdles which need to be removed. Exporters cannot make any plans if inflation remains elevated, but the exchange rates stay low. Low exchange rates hit exporters hard.”

He also pointed to the high labor cost. “Our employment cost is at $1,100. We have not seen anything like it before.”