Turkish Deputy PM Babacan sees 2015 CA deficit at around 4% of GDP if oil prices remain at current levels

By bne IntelliNews February 12, 2015

Turkey’s current account deficit could come in at around 4% of GDP at the end of this year, if the oil prices remain at $50-$60, said Deputy PM Ali Babacan on February 12, a day after the Central Bank data showed the country’s current account gap fell as much as 29% in 2014 to $45.8bn from $64.6bn in 2013, thanks to the 20% decline in the foreign trade deficit.

The effects of the declining oil prices on the current account deficit have not been fully seen yet, said Babacan, adding that last year’s current account deficit corresponded to about 5.6% of GDP and if the oil prices remain at their current levels Turkey could see a much lower deficit this year.

Many economists anticipate that the low oil prices will support the rebalancing this year. The current account is forecast to retreat further to $35.7bn at the end of 2015, a recent Reuters poll showed. But the depreciation of TRY, nearly 7% this year already, and the troubles in Europe, Turkey’s largest export market, cause some concern. The government does not have any currency rate target, Babacan also said on February 12, noting that any communication regarding currency rates is the Central Bank’s job. He cannot comment on the outcome of Central Bank’s monetary policy committee meeting, the Minister added. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and economy minister Nihat Zeybekci recently renewed attacks on the Central Bank, demanding a rate cut to boost growth. But Babacan, the economy’s czar, defended earlier this week the decision makers at the Central Bank, saying that there is a highly competent team at the Bank who are making the right decisions at the right time. Erdogan’s repeated criticisms raise questions about the independence of the Bank.

Turkey's Balance of Payments
(USD bn) 2013 2014 y/y
CURRENT ACCOUNT -64.7 -45.8 -29%
      exports 161.8 169.0 4%
      imports 241.7 232.6 -4%
      foreign trade balance -79.9 -63.6 -20%
CAPITAL ACCOUNT -0.096 -0.066 -31%
FINANCIAL ACCOUNT -62.0 -43.658 -30%
       Net FDI -8.83 -5.483 -38%
       Net Portfolio Investment -24.0 -20.0 -17%
Source: tcmb      

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