NEWS ECONOMY NEWS        02/06/2020

Turkey’s exports fall 40.9% in May 2020 due to coronavirus per preliminary calculations

According to preliminary figures provided by the Trade Ministry based on the General Trade System (GTS), Turkey’s foreign trade deficit for May 2020 was USD 3,442 million, 104.2% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 24.6% lower than the USD 4,564 million deficit figure for the previous month of April 2020.


Exports were USD 9,964 million in May 2020, 40.9% lower than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 10.8% higher than the figure for the previous month of April 2020. Imports were USD 13,406 million in May 2020, 27.8% lower than the figure for the same month of the previous year, and 1.1% lower than the figure for the previous month of April 2020.  Total foreign trade activity fell 34% in May 2020 to USD 23,370 million compared with the same month of the previous year. The collapse of export and import figures in April and May was due to the coronavirus pandemic which forced most countries to introduce strict isolation procedures for their populations. Businesses throughout the world were forced to close down as demand for their goods or services evaporated. 


The percentage of imports met by exports was 74.3% in May 2020 compared with 90.9% in the same month of the previous year.


With regards the first five months of 2020, Turkey’s foreign trade deficit was USD 20,986 million, 102.6% higher than the figure for the same period of the previous year. Exports were USD 61,626 million, 19.7% lower, and imports were USD 82,612 million, 5.1% lower than the figures for the same period of the previous year.


The automotive sector has regained its first place spot in the export table in May 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, automotive manufacturing plants had mostly been closed in the month of April, but production gradually resumed as from mid-May. Automotive exports in May 2020, were USD 1,012 million,10.2% of total exports, followed by machinery and equipment exports with USD 914 million (9.2% of total exports). Normal monthly automotive exports are over USD 2 billion and around 14-15% of total exports. Automotive exports in the month of April were USD 518 million (5.8% of total exports) and fell to fourth place behind machinery and mechanical equipment, iron and steel, and electrical machinery and equipment.


The energy sector lost its first place again in the imports table in May 2020, as in April 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, production in Turkey’s industry has largely scaled down, roads have been emptied of traffic, and the population has economised on use of home-use electricity and natural gas. The global energy markets have also seen upheaval and energy prices have plummeted. The energy import figure consequently fell to USD 1,055 million in April 2020 and USD 1,293 million in May 2020. The May 2020 figure was 9.6% of total imports, compared with 8.1% in April 2020, 14.5% in March 2020, and with 19.7% in the same month of the previous year. In May 2020, energy imports came in third behind machinery and mechanical equipment (1,606 million) and precious metals (USD 1,442 million).


The top five countries to which Turkey exported in May 2020 are Germany (USD 919 million), USA (USD 882 million), Iraq (USD 603 million), UK (USD 558 million), and France (USD 416 million). The coronavirus pandemic has had a negative effect on exports to a number of countries as travel restrictions and physical contact are restricted or reduced. Countries to which Turkish exports have fallen in May 2020 are as follows : Germany – a fall of 41.8% to USD 919 million; Italy – a fall of 56% to USD 397 million; Spain – a fall of 65% to USD 271 million; France – a fall of 43.5% to USD 416 million; UAE – a fall of 76.3% to USD 104 million: UK – a fall of 37.1% to USD 558 million; Iraq – a fall of 32.6% to USD 603 million; Iran – a fall of 76.2% to USD 66 million; Saudi Arabia – a fall of USD 58.4% to USD 145 million; and Holland – a fall of 36.3% to USD 324 million.


The top five countries from which Turkey imported in May 2020 are China (USD 1,863 million), Germany (USD 1,232 million), Russia (USD 1,173 million), USA (USD 790 million), and Iraq (USD 657 million).


For the year 2019, the trade deficit was USD 29,507 million, a 45.3% decrease on the previous year. Exports in the year 2019 were USD 180,836 million (a 2.1% increase) and imports were USD 210,343 million (a 9% decrease).


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