Turkish manufacturers scramble to meet orders amid virus fears
Turkish textile and garment manufacturers are scrambling to meet booming orders amid the novel coronavirus as the sector is already running at 85 percent capacity.
"We expect a 10 percent rise in our clothing exports. Most probably 1-2 percent business loss in the Chinese garment sector will be placed in Turkey," the president of the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers' Association (TGSD) told state-run Anadolu Agency.
Hadi Karasu said the Turkish clothing sector's exports stood at $17.7 billion last year while the figure for China was $173 billion.
Karasu, however, noted the sector does not have a lot of space to receive more orders.
"Capacity increase is a must. Plus, we should renew the technology and complete digital transformation" he added.
Karasu said the Turkish textile sector does not seek any profit caused by the coronavirus and is ready to cooperate with its Chinese counterpart.
"We want the world to eliminate this disease as we don't look for any advantage of it," he stressed.
Karasu highlighted that depreciation in the Turkish lira against other currencies made the country's exporters more competitive.
"European buyers began to question why they are going to China," he noted, adding that Turkey has the advantage of deadline compared to the Far East.
At the beginning of 2019, the dollar/lira exchange rate was 5.29, as it was around 6.24 at the end of last week.
He also said U.S. companies already turned to Turkey because of the strain between the U.S and China.
"Turkey is on the radar of U.S. sourcing firms in the coming 10 years."
Some clothing exporters in Istanbul saw a 40 percent - 50 percent surge in orders from European companies, according to sectoral sources, who asked not to be named.
Prominent Turkish brands which mostly purchase from Far Eastern countries also started placing orders in Turkey due to concerns over customer perception of "made in China" goods, the brands said, pointing the Turkish capacity.
Coronavirus continue to claim lives
The death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak in China has risen to 2,837 Saturday, according to the country’s National Health Commission.
The commission said 47 more people died in the past 24 hours while 427 new cases were detected by health authorities, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to more than 79,250.
Outside mainland China, there are 94 registered cases in Hong Kong and 10 others in Macau.
The coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to more than 30 other countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, and India.
The World Health Organization, which already declared the outbreak an international health emergency, on Friday raised the global coronavirus alert level from high to "very high".