Turkish exports rise 15 percent in February

Turkey’s exports increased 14.8 percent in February from the same month a year ago, growing at a faster pace than in January, according to preliminary data published by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM).

Exports rose to $12.8 billion, a record for the month, led by sales of cars and textiles, the assembly said on its website on Thursday. Exports of motor vehicles comprised 22 percent of total export sales, it said.

Turkey is seeking to increase exports to help bolster economic growth, which is predeicted to slow from about 7 percent in 2017, as the government prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019.

But export growth has been overshadowed by an expansion in imports, which has widened the country’s current account deficit to the largest in emerging markets, pressuring the lira.

Imports to Turkey surged 38 percent in January from a year earlier, growing at more than triple the rate of exports, which expanded 10.7 percent, the state statistics office said on Feb. 28.

The government has said its export target of $169 billion for 2018 will most likely be exceeded.