Turkey’s foreign trade deficit in April rose by 17% y/y to stand at $4.95bn, data from national statistics office TUIK showed on May 31.
Prior to April, the trade gap showed a temporary contraction in March after registering expansions in the first two months of this year. The trade deficit is the main driver behind Turkey’s chronic current account deficit problem.
The deterioration in the foreign trade shortfall came despite the recording of a 7% y/y rise in Turkish exports to $12.8bn in April. Imports climbed 10% y/y to $17.8bn in the month.
Shipments to the EU, which absorbed 45% of Turkey’s exports in April, increased by 2% y/y to $5.78bn. Exports to Russia climbed 24% y/y to $162mn in April and rose by 37% y/y to reach $661mn in the first four months of this year.
Russia and Turkey are still negotiating the removal of some remaining trade restrictions. Moscow imposed sanctions after the Turkish air force downed a Russian fighter-bomber near the Syrian border in November 2015. It has lifted many of the restrictions but the ban on the import of tomatoes has remained in place.
TUIK also reported that Turkey’s exports to the Middle East rose by a sharp 26% y/y to $3.27bn in April.
The country’s energy import bill, meanwhile, increased by 33% y/y to $2.68bn in April, with Turkey paying 38% more for energy in the first four months of this year compared with the same period of 2016, TUIK data showed.
Across January-April, exports increased by 9% y/y to $51bn while imports were up 8% y/y to $68bn, resulting in a foreign trade deficit of $17.5bn, a 7% increase from a year ago.
The government is forecasting a foreign trade deficit of $60.7bn for this year with exports reaching $153bn and imports amounting to $214bn.
|Turkey's Foreign Trade|
|($ bn)||(%)||($ bn)||(%)||($ bn)||(%)|
|Source: tuik, gtb|