Turkey foreign trade deficit triples in October

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit more than tripled in October, in a sign that the country’s balance of payments may be worsening again during an economic recovery.

The deficit widened by to $1.81 billion from $497 million in October last year, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Friday. The deficit had expanded by an annual 6.6 percent in September and by 1.2 percent in August. It narrowed 47 percent in July.

Turkey’s economy is emerging from a severe downturn caused by a currency crisis in the summer of 2018. The financial turmoil had pummelled imports but helped Turkey deal with a severe balance of payments problem caused by a surge in demand for foreign goods, easing pressure on the lira.

Exports decreased by 0.1 percent annually in October to $15.7 billion, while imports rose 8 percent to $17.5 billion, the institute said. Exports covered 90 percent of imports, down from 97 percent in October 2018.

Seasonally and calendar-adjusted exports decreased by a monthly 0.5 percent when compared with September. Imports increased by 3.6 percent. Calendar-adjusted exports did not change from October 2018, while imports increased by 9.5 percent, the institute said.

Turkey's government is relying on an increase in exports and substituting imports for domestically-produced goods to help allay investor concerns that balance of payments problems will return.