Trade deficit at historic highs

Trade deficit at historic highs

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Trade deficit at historic highs

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit, which exceeded $100 billion last year, is one of the main problems of the economy, although domestic harbors are busy exporting Turkish goods, like the Mersin harbor seen in this photo. AA photo

Turkey’s 2011 trade deficit exceeded $105.8 billion, an all-time high, with a 47.7 percent jump from a year earlier, mainly due to increasing energy consumption.

The trade deficit in December stood at $8.11 billion with a tiny recovery from $8.7 billion in December 2010. The gap was $7.5 billion in November last year.

Exports rose an annual 5.6 percent to $12.5 billion in December while imports gained 0.2 percent to $20.6 billion, the office said.

Turkey’s energy imports jumped by 23 percent in December compared to the same month a year earlier, reaching $5 billion, Akbank Economic Research, headed by Fatma Melek, said in a note to investors yesterday. The sum of energy imports in 2011 was $54 billion, which constitutes some 45 percent of the country’s total imports.

“We forecast that non-energy imports will keep a slow pace in accordance with the cool down in domestic demand, but energy imports will remain high due to the increasing oil prices,” the Istanbul-based group said. Akbank’s projection on 2012 trade deficit stands at $102 billion.

Highest gap ever
Turkey’s 2011 exports were $134.9 billion while imports reached $240.8 billion, Turkey’s statistics authority TÜİK said on its website. The gap was the highest in the 89th anniversary of the modern republic.

Accordingly, Turkey’s exports were up 18.5 percent year-on-year in 2011 as imports jumped 29.8 percent.

The figures also revealed the share of European Union members in Turkey’s exports declined to 41.7 percent in December to 45.2 percent the same month in 2010, thanks to the fall in demand on the crisis-hit continent. The volume of Turkish exports to EU countries in December also declined by 2.5 percent to $5.2 million.

“The figures expose the slowdown in foreign trade,” said Vakıfbank Economic Research, headed by Serkan Özcan, in yesterday’s note to investors.

However, strong exports supported by the Turkish Lira’s depreciation in 2011 also played a role in December recovery, Vakıfbank said.

Russia appeared to be the biggest exporter to Turkey with a volume of $240.8 billion. Turkish sales to Russia stood at only $23.9 billion.

Germany and China were the second and third biggest importers to Turkey by $23 billion and $21.7 billion relatively. Imports from India reached $6.5 billion with more than a 90 percent rise from 2010.
Germany remained Turkey’s top exports market with an annual volume of $13.96 billion. Iraq and Britain followed with $8.3 billion and $8.15 billion respectively.