Turkish November trade deficit shrinks in economic downturn

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit shrank in November, continuing a trend that is indicative of a sharp economic downturn.

The deficit narrowed an annual 90.5 percent to $604 million in November, the Trade Ministry in Ankara said at the weekend, citing preliminary data. The decline followed a 94 percent contraction to $456 million in October and a 77 percent decline in September.

The government is seeking to prevent a slowdown in economic activity from turning into a recession ahead of local elections in March. The economy is still reeling from a currency crisis that peaked in August. It had sent inflation to the highest levels in 15 years and led to a slump in demand for imports.

Imports shrank 21.5 percent annually to $16.1 million after falling 24 percent in October, the government data showed. Exports rose 9.5 percent to $15.5 billion. They had increased 13 percent in the previous month.