S&P cuts Turkey's outlook as exports fall

S&P cuts Turkey's outlook as exports fall

S&P cuts Turkeys outlook as exports fall

TİM President Mehmet Büyükekşı announces the April export figures at a press meeting in Balıkesir today.

Turkish exports in April fell 2.9 percent from April 2011 to $11.4 billion, according to figures released today by Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) President Mehmet Büyükekşi at a press meeting in the Balıkesir province in western Turkey.

The Turkish automotive sector was the leader in exports in April with $1.6 billion followed by the chemicals sector at $1.5 billion and the steel sector coming in third at $1.3 billion. Exports to Africa in April went up by 38 percent and exports to the Middle East also increased by 11 percent.

“The largest increase in exports was to Libya. Our exports to Libya increased 48 fold,” said Büyükekşi.

Meanwhile, opposition CHP Member of Parliament Umut Oran criticized Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan for being in Dubai when the export figures were released. He said Çağlayan’s absence was like a captain being away from the helm of his ship on a bad day, noting that Turkish exports had fallen roughly 8 percent from March.

“According to these export numbers, the ship has taken in water. Compared to last April there is a drop in every sector … Turkish exports’ admiral ships are sending out an S.O.S signal,” said Oran.

Çağlayan issued a written statement from Dubai following the release of the export figures and said that the slight drop in exports was due to the fact that there were 25 business days in the month of April and that the May export figures would make up for this decrease.

S&P cuts outlook

Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s cut its outlook for Turkey’s long-term foreign and local currency credit ratings to stable from positive. “Less-buoyant external demand and worsening terms of trade -- the price of exports compared to imports -- have, in our view, made economic rebalancing more difficult, and have increased the risks to Turkey’s creditworthiness given its high external debt and the state budget’s reliance on indirect tax revenues,” it said in a note. “This heavy reliance on external savings exposes Turkey to shocks.”

On a regional basis, exports from Turkey’s southeast increased 17.4 percent to $2.5 billion in January to April 2012 from a year earlier, according to the Southeast Anatolian Exporters Union President Abdulkadir Çıkmaz.

“Exports to the Middle East held the southeast’s first place sport at 58.4 percent. Exports to the European Union came in second at 15.5 percent and Africa was third at 10.4 percent,” said Çıkmaz.

“The locomotive in our region is Gaziantep. With an export figure of $1.85 billion in the January to March 2012 period, Gaziantep was the region in Turkey with the sixth highest exports,” said Çıkmaz.

Meanwhile, exports from the region of Antalya on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, also witnessed a 1.55 percent increase in the same period.

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