Turkish companies target exports of $190 billion in 2020

Turkish companies are targeting exports of $190 billion this year, an increase of about 5 percent on 2019.

The prediction was made by İsmail Gülle, who heads the Istanbul-based Turkish Exporters’ Union (TIM), in an interview with the state-run Anadolu news agency on Thursday.

Turkey’s government is looking to exports to help grow the economy by 5 percent in 2020 and help curb the country’s historically high current account deficit, which reached 6.5 percent of GDP shortly before a currency crisis struck financial markets in the summer of 2018.

Gülle said exporters wanted to see a stable lira in 2020 and praised the government for providing financial help and incentives to firms last year. The measures helped boost exports and brought foreign currency into the country, he said. The share of high-tech goods in exports will increase in 2020, he said.

Turkish exports rose by 2 percent to $180.5 billion last year, according to preliminary data published by the Trade Ministry this month. Imports fell by 9 percent to $210.4 billion, helping to narrow Turkey’s trade deficit by 45 percent to $29.9 billion.

Economists have warned, however, that measures by the government to boost economic growth, which include cheap lending by state-run banks, threaten a resurgence of the current account deficit, the widest measure of inflows and outflows of goods and services. Loans to consumers, which fuelled Turkey’s economic imbalances prior to the currency crisis, led an increase in overall lending by banks in the second half of last year, according to industry data. 

Foreign trade data for the latter part of 2019 indicate that Turkey’s current account deficit problems may be returning. Imports jumped by an annual 20 percent in December, the biggest monthly increase last year, outpacing a 4.9 percent advance in exports, official data showed.