Turkish exports, imports fall annually in July, reversing June uptick

Turkey’s exports and imports fell in July from the same month a year ago, reversing annual gains made in June, according to preliminary data published on Tuesday.

Exports dropped by 5.8 percent to $15.1 billion, while imports declined by 7.7 percent to $17.8 billion, the Trade Ministry said on its website. Exports and imports had increased by an annual 16 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively, in June.

The trade deficit shrank by 17 percent to $2.74 billion, the ministry said.

Turkey is seeking to boost exports and encourage consumer spending to help lift the economy out of a severe downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the economy faces headwinds as the lira falls against major currencies and demand for goods in Europe, the country’s biggest export market, remains depressed.

The Trade Ministry said exports rose by 12 percent from June to post the highest monthly figure this year, indicating that economic growth in the country was getting back on track.

Exports in the first seven months of the year fell by an annual 14 percent to $90 billion, according to the figures. Imports dropped by 3.9 percent to $116.7 billion. The trade deficit for the January to July period widened by 56 percent to $26.6 billion, the ministry said.

A bigger trade deficit for Turkey can put pressure on the lira because the country needs to find funds to finance the imbalance. The country’s tourism industry, a major earner of foreign currency, remains in the doldrums, while foreign capital inflows have declined sharply.

The lira rose by 0.2 percent to 6.94 per dollar in early afternoon trading in Istanbul. The gains reduced losses this year to 14.3 percent.