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Turkey: Trade deficit widens with commodity rally in November

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According to the leading November foreign trade data announced by the Ministry of Commerce within the scope of GTS (general trade system); Compared to the same month of the previous year, exports increased by 33.4% to 21.47 billion USD, while imports increased by 26.7% to 26.80 billion USD in the same period. In this context, foreign trade deficit increased by 5.4% in November and became 5.33 billion USD.

 

While Germany was the country to which we exported the most in November, it was followed by England, the US and Iraq. In import items; China took the first place in November 2021, followed by Russia, Germany and the US. Looking at the goods groups, there is a double-digit increase in exports of raw materials (intermediate goods), investment (capital) and consumer goods compared to the previous year. On the import side, despite the 39.1% increase in the raw material category; investment goods increased by 3.4%, while consumption goods decreased by 13.7%.

 

With the rise in commodity prices increasing imports, the trade deficit seems to have widened in November. In this context, we observe that the depreciation of the lira, which occurred by almost a quarter in November, did not contribute to balancing trade in goods. Mineral fuel imports, an indicator of the energy bill, increased by 155.5% year-on-year to $6.5 billion in November, emphasizing the risks to Turkey’s external imbalances stemming from rising oil and natural gas prices. Steel and iron imports rose 75.3% to $2.55 billion in the same period. On the other hand, supply bottlenecks slowed growth in some key export sectors, such as automobiles, where overseas shipments fell by 9% to $2.16 billion.

 

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While the introduction of the vaccine on a global scale accelerated world economic growth and contributed positively to exports, the effect of the broad-based rally in commodity prices caused an increase in the import bill. Positive domestic demand may reduce its effect on the increase in imports due to the lack of consumption due to the exchange rate increase in the following periods. We also observed the normalized effect of gold imports during the year. However, this year, the price-effective increase in energy imports stands out. The continuation of the increase in commodity prices is also effective in the increase in imports of intermediate goods. Therefore, we think that the improvement in the foreign trade deficit may be limited due to the rising import bill. Although the positive contribution to tourism revenues continues, the periodic current account balance may return to its open position in November, albeit slightly, due to the foreign trade deficit.

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