ECONOMY

Turk trade deficit

Turkey’s trade deficit grew 41 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, more than expected, as an increase in the price of oil and gas pushed up import costs. The trade gap widened to $6.5 billion last month from $4.6 billion in the year-ago period, the statistics agency in Ankara said on its website today. The median estimate of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a deficit of $5.6 billion. The 12th consecutive month of expansion in the deficit shows Turkey’s dependence on imported energy and raw materials. Rising oil prices may drive the current account deficit, the broadest measure of trade in goods and services, to a record $50 billion this year from $37.4 billion in 2007, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said on April 29. «It’s clear that skyrocketing petroleum prices are causing a widening in the foreign trade deficit,» said Ozgur Altug, chief economist at Raymond James Securities in Istanbul. «Exports were a little lower than expected and imports higher. This will have repercussions for the current account deficit.» Exports in April expanded 37 percent to $11.4 billion from a year earlier, while imports rose 38 percent to $17.9 billion, the agency said. (Bloomberg)