Turkey foreign trade gap narrows 72 percent as economic downturn persists
Turkey’s foreign trade deficit shrank by an annual 72.5 percent to $2.5 billion in January, indicating that the country’s economic downturn is set to continue.
Exports rose nearly 6 percent year-on-year to reach $13.17 billion, while imports fell an annual 27 percent to $15.67 billion, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Thursday.
Turkish economic activity has slowed markedly since a currency crisis peaked in August, paring demand for imports. The economy contracted a quarterly 1.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018 despite government tax cuts and other incentives. The December trade deficit of $2.67 billion was the largest since July’s $5.98 billion, figures showed.
Turkey is relying on sales of goods abroad to help stimulate the economy after consumer demand for goods and services slid. Exported goods have become cheaper after the lira lost almost a third of its value against the dollar last year.
The lira fell 0.1 percent to nearly 5.32 per dollar as of 2:20 p.m. in Istanbul.
Consumer confidence in the country fell for a third-straight month in February, sliding back near the lowest in a decade. The official confidence index dropped from 58.2 in January to 57.8 this month, just above the 57.6 in October, the worst since the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Any reading below 100 indicates pessimism about the future.