Turkey’s foreign trade gap widened in January amid rise in gold imports, energy costs

Turkey’s foreign trade gap widened in January amid rise in gold imports, energy costs

Turkey’s foreign trade gap widened in January amid rise in gold imports, energy costs

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit soared 108.5 percent in January compared to the same month of 2017 and reached $9.06 billion mainly due to a significant rise in gold imports and energy costs, preliminary data from the Turkish Customs and Trade Ministry has shown.

The ministry in a written statement on Feb. 2 said that while Turkey’s exports saw a 10.8 percent year-on-year increase and reached $12.5 billion in January, its imports hit $21.5 billion by a 38 percent yearly increase.

The biggest import item in January was energy, according to the ministry data, Reuters has reported.

Turkey imported $3.63 billion worth energy products in the first month of 2018 with a 13.25 percent yearly increase.

Among the largest five import items, precious metals ranked the second and saw the steepest year-on-year increase in imports. Turkey imported $2.37 billion worth precious metals in January, with a 363 percent year-on-year increase.

İş Investment economist Muammer Kömürcüoğlu said gold imports made a 12-point contribution to the total imports, while energy imports’ contribution was 2.7 points.

These items were followed by iron and steel products in the country’s top imports list.

Brent crude price reached $71 per barrel in Jan. 25, the highest since December 2014. It was traded at $69.9 levels on Feb. 2.

According to the ministry data, the top exporting items in January were motorized vehicles as the country made $1.82 billion worth exports of these products with an 8 percent yearly increase.

This item was followed by machineries and iron and steel products.

Saying that the largest contributors of Turkey’s imports and exports were largely the same, Kömürcüoğlu added: “This shows that Turkey’s exports were highly dependent on imports in these sectors and the rise in commodity prices made an impact on Turkey’s imports. In this vein, some measures and reforms which have recently been discussed in an effort to decrease the import of intermediate goods will be of big significance.”

He also noted that the strong growth outlook in the EU would continue to support Turkey’s exports, adding that the rise in oil prices was also positive as it would lead to a demand boost in oil producer countries toward Turkish goods and services.

“On the other hand, some normalization in the gold imports, which led to a significant deterioration in the foreign trade outlook, was expected, but we have taken signals that show the opposite now,” he added.

According to the ministry data, Turkey’s top export market in January was Germany, to which the country made $1.35 billion worth exports with a 20 percent year-on-year increase. Germany was followed by the United Kingdom and Iraq.

Turkey received the largest amount of imports from China in January with a 17.6 percent yearly increase. This country was followed by Russia and Germany with the yearly increase of 38 percent and 37.3 percent, respectively.