Turkey’s foreign trade shortfall declined by 11.7% y/y to $56bn last year, driven by a 4.2% reduction in imports, data from national statistics office TUIK showed on January 31.
Exports were down 0.9% y/y to $142.6bn while imports amounted to $199mn.
Thanks to cheaper oil prices, the country’s energy import bill shrank by as much as 28.2% y/y to $27.2bn in 2016.
Exports to the EU, Turkey’s largest trading partner, showed a 6.8% y/y increase to $68.3mn last year, while shipments to the Middle East, which accounted for a 22% share in total exports, rose by 0.7% y/y to $31.3bn.
Turkey’s exports to Russia fell by 51.7% y/y to $1.7bn last year, reflecting the impacts of the sanctions Moscow imposed after the downing of a Russian attack aircraft by Turkish jets near the Syrian border in November 2015. Shipments to Russia, however, dropped only 9.1% y/y to $205mn in December, in a sign that trade with Russia might finally be improving.
TUIK reported that the country’s total exports in December increased 9% y/y to $12.8bn while its imports were up 2.3% y/y to $18.4bn, resulting in a foreign trade deficit of $5.6bn for the month - 10.3% lower than the shortfall registered in the same month of 2015.
Exports were expected to rise more than 10% in January, Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said last week. And preliminary data seem to confirm this expectation. The figures compiled by the business daily Dunya show that exports rose by 20.2% y/y to $8.7bn between January 1 and January 26.
The government forecasts a foreign trade deficit of $60.7bn for this year with exports reaching $153bn and imports amounting to $214bn.
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