According to the February GTS (General Trade System) foreign trade data announced by TURKSTAT in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce; Turkey's exports in February 2021 increased by 9.6% compared to the same period of the previous year USD 16.01 billion, while imports increased by 9.4% in the same period amounted to 19.31 billion USD. Thus, the foreign trade deficit increased by 8.7% between February 2020 and February 2021 and reached 3.30 billion USD. The ratio of exports to imports increased from 82.8% to 82.9% in the period in question.
Germany was the country to which we export the most in February, followed by England, USA and Italy. While exports to 27 countries that make up the European Union increased by 11.8% to 6.87 billion USD, it is seen that the share of the EU in our total exports increased from 42.1% to 42.9%. In import items; China took the first place in February 2021, followed by Russia, Germany and Italy. In February, while the share of capital goods in total imports increased, the share of intermediate (raw materials) and consumption goods decreased. While the share of high technology products in our total exports was 3%, the share of imports of the same group in our total imports was 12.5%.
According to STS (Special trading system), Turkey's exports increased by 8.8% in February 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year USD 15.10 billion, while imports decreased by 9.1% in the same period in USD 18.58 billion has been realized. The ratio of exports to imports was 81.3% in the period in question.
Similar to the January data, we observe that the positive trend in exports continued in February. Although we are likely to see a similar trend in terms of foreign trade in March data, vulnerabilities of foreign demand for the upcoming period pose a downside risk to exports. Things are not going well in Europe, depending on the increasing number of cases, reclosures are carried out or existing closures are extended. Prohibitions and restrictions stemming from Covid-19 and the demand shock that this will create may cause restriction and difficulty in exports of goods. On the service export side, especially in the tourism leg, although it is not expected to be a limited year until 2020, it is understood that we will stay away from 2019 levels due to the ongoing effects of the epidemic at home and abroad.
On the import side; The increase effect could not be very limited due to the fact that domestic demand remained in the game somehow. In the 3Q20 period, when financial conditions were lax, imports remained buoyant due to incentives and credit supports, while a limited slowdown was observed in the following periods, and the demand for private consumption kept imports above certain levels. The recent exchange rate and interest movements will again be determinant import trends. Depending on the exchange rate and interest balances, where the growth balance will form creates the uncertainty in terms of the speed of imports. While the depreciation of TRY may be an advantage in terms of exports, it may cause problems in terms of other macro balances, especially inflation. On the other hand, while the rise in exchange rates and commodity prices will have an increasing effect on our import bill in the context of balance of payments and foreign trade balance, deterioration in growth dynamics may cause imports to be limited by decreasing domestic demand.
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