As from January 1st, 2020, it is clear that the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK- TurkStat) has decided to give precedence to the General Trade System (GTS) calculation method of foreign trade over the Special Trade System (STS) calculation method. TurkStat has accordingly prepared its detailed statistical data for foreign trade based on the GTS method back to and including the year 2013. TurkStat has also continued to prepare foreign trade figures according to the STS method, but is likely to discontinue presentation of STS data at some time in the future. For this reason, our website has decided to analyse Turkey’s foreign trade data according to the GTS method as from January 2020, and visitors to our website should be aware that our analyses will be based on different data prior to and subsequent to 2019 yearend.
As a reminder, there are broadly two approaches, closely linked with customs procedures, used for the measurement of international trade in goods. These are the general trade system and the special trade system. The general trade system (GTS) is the wider concept and under it the statistical territory includes customs warehouses, all types of free zones, free circulation area and premises for inward processing. The special trade system (STS), on the other hand, is a narrower concept. Customs warehouses, all types of free zones and premises for inward processing are excluded from the statistical territory by the strict definition of the special trade system; thus only imports and exports of the free circulation area are recorded.
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 4,448 million in January 2020, 94.3% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 4.3% lower than the deficit figure of USD 4,648 million for the previous month of December 2019.
Exports totalled USD 14,759 million and imports totalled USD 19,207 million in January 2020. The export figure was a 6.4% increase and the import figure a 18.8% increase on the figures for the same month of the previous year. The export figure was 4.2% lower and the import figure also 4.2% lower than the figures for the previous month of December 2019.
The trade deficit for the year of 2019 was USD 29,476 million, a fall of 45.4% on the same period of the previous year. Total exports were USD 180,871 million, a 2.1% increase, and total imports were USD 210,347 million, a 9% fall on the figures for the previous year.
Turkey’s main export item in January 2020 was again road transport vehicles with USD 2,128 million, which is 14.4% of total exports. Automotive exports are followed by machinery with 9.5% of total exports. Turkey’s main import item in January 2020 was energy substances with USD 4,110 million, which is 21.4% of total imports, followed by valuable metal imports at 10% and machinery imports at 9.6% of total imports. With regards the full year of 2019, automotive exports were 14.9% of total exports and energy substances imports were 19.8% of total imports.
Turkey’s exports to the EU, Turkey’s main trading partner, were USD 7,383 million in January 2020, 3.2% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year. The share of total Turkish exports to the EU was 50% in January 2020, compared with 51.5% in the same month of the previous year. Exports to the EU increased by 8.4% compared with the previous month of December. With regards the full year of 2019, Turkey’s exports to the EU were 48.7% of its total exports.
Germany, the EU’s largest economy, was the leading recipient of Turkish goods in January 2020, with USD 1,415 million. Italy followed with USD 888 million, UK with USD 869 million, Iraq with USD 816 million, the USA with USD 746 million, France with USD 657 million, and Spain with USD 625 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).
Russia was the leading exporter to Turkey in January 2020 with USD 2,083 million, followed by China with USD 1,886 million, Germany with USD 1,349 million, USA with USD 1,223 million, Iraq with USD 796 million, Italy with USD 623 million, UK with USD 569 million and India with USD 540 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 76.8% in January 2020, compared with 85.8% in the same month of the previous year. With regards the full year, the percentage of imports covered by exports was 86% in 2019 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 January 2020 was USD 4,603 million, with exports of USD 13,903 million and imports of USD 18,507 million. The deficit for the full year of 2019 was USD 31,202 million, with exports of USD 171,503 million and imports of USD 202,705 million.