Turk trade deficit at record level

ANKARA – Turkey’s trade deficit leapt 44.3 percent to an historic monthly high of $4.075 billion in May, official data showed yesterday, a level above market expectations. A Reuters poll had forecast a deficit of $4 billion. Turkish exports rose 9.9 percent year-on-year to $5.681 billion in May, while imports climbed 22.1 percent to $9.756 billion, the State Statistics Institute (DIE) said. The median forecast in the Reuters poll for imports in May was $9.800 billion and for exports $5.850 billion. In the first five months of 2005, the deficit rose 22.7 percent from the same period last year to $16.087 billion, the DIE data showed. Exports rose 22.1 percent to $28.973 billion. Imports jumped 22.3 percent to $45.06 billion in the January-May period. Turkey’s trade deficit stood at $3.558 billion in April, with exports and imports standing at $5.903 billion and $9.461 billion respectively, earlier data showed. Economists had expected the trade deficit to hit an historic high in May as manufacturers devour imports and the strong lira curbs export growth. Turkish industry buys cheaper inputs from abroad to cut costs and survive tougher competition from Asia. A high trade deficit feeds into a large current account gap, which has stirred fears among some economists over the sustainability of the balance of payments. «Import growth, while it continues to outstrip export growth, will keep up widening pressure on the trade deficit,» said 4Cast analysts in a comment on the latest figures.

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