Turkey sees exports record with $152 bln

Turkey sees exports record with $152 bln

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey sees exports record with $152 bln

Armored vehicles, like BMC’s Kirpi in this photo, account for a large portion of Turkey’s defense exports.

Turkey broke an all-time exports record last year with $151.86 billion, according to the unofficial figures gathered by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM).

This surpassed the official government target of $149 billion, as TİM President Mehmet Büyükekşi said local exporters aimed for $160 billion of exports this year.

On an annual basis defense sales posted a large increase of 43 percent to more than $1.25 billion, as December 2012 exports slightly fell to $11.9 billion from the same month a year earlier, the figures showed.

Gold exports jump

Gold sales also supported the annual figures with a 42 percent increase from a year earlier, as Turkey has started using gold as an indirect payment tool for gas from Iran to bypass the U.S. embargo on money transactions with the Islamic Republic.

Speaking at an Ankara meeting held by TİM, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said some 60 percent of the gold exports went to Iran as another 30 percent went to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). He said Turkey would continue such trade as long as it found buyers for its gold. Turkey reportedly sends some of its exported gold to Iran via the U.A.E.

Turkey sold nearly $1 billion worth of gold to both Switzerland and the U.K. as well, he said.

The country’s current account deficit dropped to $41 billion in the first 10 months of 2012 from $65 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Southeastern province signals recovery

The southeastern province of Gaziantep, a regional production hub, posted a 16 percent increase in exports, signaling a recovery from the sharp fall due to the tensions with Syria.

Turkey’s tobacco exports also increased 25 percent.

Germany topped Turkey’s export markets once again as Iraq and the U.K. followed.

Exports to Libya increased by 188 percent mainly due to the recovering process in the so-called Arab Spring nation.

Exports to the crisis-hit European Union countries fell by 7 percent to $58 billion.

Automotive exports topped Turkey’s export items list last year with $19 billion as chemicals and textile products followed.

Exports from Istanbul, the industrial and business capital of the country, increased to $61 billion as neighboring İzmit ranked second with $13 billion in exports. İzmit and Bursa are Turkey’s automotive industry hubs.