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 3,420 million in May 2020, 102.7% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 25.2% lower than the deficit figure of USD 4,572 million for the previous month of April 2020.
Exports totalled USD 9,967 million and imports totalled USD 13,387 million in May 2020. The export figure was a 40.9% fall and the import figure a 27.8% fall on the figures for the same month of the previous year. The export figure was 11% higher and the import figure 1.2% lower than the respective figures for the previous month of April 2020. The continued low export and import figures in May were due to the coronavirus pandemic which has caused many industries to reduce production as a result of the need for social distancing and falling demand. Exports in May however stabilised, with an increase of 11% on the previous month, as industries such as the automotive industry restarted production.
For the first five months of 2020, the trade deficit was USD 21,005 million, 102.8% higher than the figure for the same period of the previous year. Exports totalled USD 61,586 million and imports totalled USD 82,591 million in the first five months of 2020. The export figure was a 19.7% decrease and the import figure a 5.2% decrease 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 has regained its first place in Turkey’s exports 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). Prior to the pandemic, monthly automotive exports were consistently over USD 2 billion at around 14-15% of total exports. For example, automotive exports in May 2019 were USD 2,416 million, 14.3% of total exports. We can expect automotive exports to return to their previous levels in the next month of June when manufacturing facilities will have operated throughout the month.
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, drastically reducing Turkey’s energy bill. The energy import figure consequently fell to USD 1,483 million in April 2020 and USD 1,269 million in May 2020. The May 2020 figure was 9.5% of total imports, compared with 10.9% in April 2020, 14.5% in March 2020, and 19.7% in the same month of the previous year. In May 2020, energy imports came in third behind machinery and mechanical equipment (1,607 million) and precious metals (USD 1,442 million).
Turkey’s exports to the EU, Turkey’s main trading partner, were USD 3,968 million in May 2020, 44.3% lower than the figure for the same month of the previous year. The share of total Turkish exports to the EU was 39.8% in May 2020, compared with 42.2% in the same month of the previous year. We can therefore see that exports to the EU continue to be more adversely affected by the pandemic than to other countries. Exports to the EU did however increase by 17.5% compared with the previous month of April, slightly higher than the increase in total exports of 11%. 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 May 2020, with USD 919 million. USA followed with USD 882 million, Iraq with USD 603 million, UK with USD 560 million, and France with USD 416 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 May 2020 with USD 1,863 million, followed by Germany with USD 1,231 million, Russia with USD 1,172 million, USA with USD 764 million, and Italy with USD 483 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 74.5% in May 2020, compared with 90.9% 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 May 2020 was USD 3,334 million, an increase of 77.3% on the same month of the previous year. Exports were USD 9,436 million, a decrease of 40.8% on the same month of the previous year, and imports were USD 12,770 million, a decrease of 28.3% on the same month of the previous year. The deficit for the full year of 2019 was USD 31,238 million, with exports of USD 171,466 million and imports of USD 202,704 million.