According to figures prepared by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK- TurkStat) in cooperation with Turkey’s Ministry of Trade, and using the General Trade System (GTS) calculation method, Turkey’s foreign trade deficit was USD 4,564 million in April 2020, 67% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 16.1% lower than the deficit figure of USD 5,439 million for the previous month of March 2020.
Exports totalled USD 8,990 million and imports totalled USD 13,553 million in April 2020. The export figure was a 41.4% fall and the import figure a 25% fall on the figures for the same month of the previous year. The export figure was 32.8% lower and the import figure 28% lower than the respective figures for the previous month of March 2020. The fall in export figures in April was a direct result of the impact of coronavirus pandemic. Turkey’s automotive industry, the locomotive behind Turkey’s exports, has for example been particularly hard hit with all manufacturing facilities shut down during the month. Global supply networks and global demand have been upset and many exporters have seen delays on imported materials and cancellation of orders.
For the first four months of 2020, the trade deficit was USD 17,543 million, 102.3% higher than the figure for the same period of the previous year. Exports totalled USD 51,662 million and imports totalled USD 69,205 million in the first four months of 2020. The export figure was a 13.7% decrease and the import figure a 1% increase on the figures for the same period of the previous year.
The trade deficit for the year of 2019 was USD 29,507 million, a fall of 45.3% on the previous year. Total exports were USD 180,836 million, a 2.1% increase, and total imports were USD 210,343 million, a 9% fall on the figures for the previous year.
Automotive exports, for many years consistently Turkey’s biggest export item, fell to fourth place in April 2020. The leading export item this month was mechanical machinery with USD 917 million (10.2% of total exports), followed by iron &steel with USD 654 million (7.3%), electrical machinery with USD 532 million (5.9%), and automotive with USD 518 million (5.8%). Automotive exports had consistently previously been over 15% of total exports, but the impact of the coronoavirus pandemic had caused Turkey to largely close down automotive production in April. This situation will be repeated in May since production did not restart until the end of that month.
Turkey’s main import item in April 2020 was mechanical machinery with USD 1,546 million (11.4% of total imports), followed by energy substances with USD 1,483 million (10.9% of total imports). Energy substances had previously always been the leading import item accounting for consistently around 20% of total imports. The fall in global energy prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s negative impact on world trade has drastically reduced Turkey’s energy bill. With many factories temporarily closing down production and with the population encouraged to stay at home if possible, energy consumption in Turkey has also substantially decreased.
Turkey’s exports to the EU, Turkey’s main trading partner, were USD 3,384 million in April 2020, 47.8% lower than the figure for the same month of the previous year. The share of total Turkish exports to the EU was 37.6% in April 2020, compared with 42.2% in the same month of the previous year. Exports to the EU decreased by 37% compared with the previous month of March. We can therefore see that exports to the EU were more adversely negatively affected than to other countries since the fall in total exports from March to April was 28%. With regards the full year of 2019, Turkey’s exports to the EU were 42.4% of its total exports. It should be noted here that TurkStat has revised its export figures to the EU to remove those of the UK which it has recognised as having left the EU as of February 1st, 2020.
Germany, the EU’s largest economy, was the leading recipient of Turkish goods in April 2020, with USD 862 million. USA followed with USD 605 million, Iraq with USD 564 million, Italy with USD 400 million, and UK with USD 361 million. With regards the full year of 2019, rankings were as follows: Germany (USD 16,624 million), UK (USD 11,281 million), Iraq (USD 10,224 million), Italy (USD 9,754 million), USA (USD 8,972 million), Spain (USD 8,141 million), and France (USD 7,946 million).
China was the leading exporter to Turkey in April 2020 with USD 1,559 million, followed by Germany with USD 1,435 million, Russia with USD 1,202 million, USA with USD 746 million, and South Korea with USD 588 million. With regards the full year of 2019, rankings were as follows: Russia (USD 23,117 million), Germany (USD 19,279 million), China (USD 19,128 million), USA (USD 11,847 million), Italy (USD 9,349 million), France (USD 6,760 million), India (USD 6,635 million), South Korea (USD 5,777 million) and UK (USD 5,638 million).
The percentage of imports covered by exports was 66.3% in April 2020, compared with 84.9% in the same month of the previous year. With regards the full year of 2019, the percentage of imports covered by exports was 86% compared with 76.6% in the previous year.
Using the Special Trade System (STS) calculation method of foreign trade, Turkey’s foreign trade deficit in April 2020 was USD 4,002 million, an increase of 33.4% on the same month of the previous year. Exports were USD 8,439 million, a decrease of 41.6% on the same month of the previous year, and imports were USD 12,441 million, a decrease of 26.8% on the same month of the previous year. The deficit for the full year of 2019 was USD 31,234 million, with exports of USD 171,468 million and imports of USD 202,702 million.