Turkey’s foreign trade deficit widens 37% y/y in 2017

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit widens 37% y/y in 2017
By bne IntelliNews February 1, 2018

Turkey’s foreign trade shortfall widened by 37% y/y to stand at $77bn in 2017, national statistics office TUIK reported on January 31.

Exports were up 10% y/y to $157bn but imports rose at the faster pace of 18% y/y to reach $234bn.

The government is forecasting a foreign trade deficit of $68bn for 2018 with exports reaching $169bn and imports amounting to $237bn.

Anxieties over Turkey's overheating economy are strengthening as the cumulative current account deficit grew by 37% y/y to $39.4bn in January-November.

Turkey's economic health, it is clear, is dangerously reliant on hot inflows of foreign external financing to enable growth. 

The government expects the current account deficit to come in at 4.6% of GDP, or $39.2bn, in 2017. However, the markets expect a deficit of $45bn to be recorded for the full year.

Despite all the worries of imbalances, Turkey continues to finance its current account deficit via portfolio inflows. The total equities inflow in 2017 topped $3.34bn, in line with the scope of portfolio inflows into the emerging markets universe. Consequently, the Istanbul bourse experienced many all-time highs last year.

There was an overall inflow of $7.13bn into debt securities in 2017.