Turkey’s trade deficit rose 422 percent in October on energy bill

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit jumped by a whopping 421.7% year-over-year in October, official data showed Tuesday, driven by soaring imports and a surge in energy costs.

The trade gap widened to $7.87 billion in October, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) said, up from around $1.5 billion in the same month a year ago.

Growth in imports way outpaced exports, soaring by 31.4% to $29.2 billion, versus a 3% rise in the latter to $21.3 billion.

Under its new economic program, unveiled last year, the Turkish government aims to shift to a current account surplus through stronger exports, production, investments and low interest rates, also aiming to lower inflation.

Excluding energy products and non-monetary gold, Türkiye registered a $1.13 billion trade surplus, according to the data.

Turkey is almost completely dependent on imports to cover its energy needs, which leaves it vulnerable to rising costs that skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and domestic demand has risen since the pandemic.

The country’s energy import bill soared 37.3% to $7.45 billion in October compared to the same month of 2021, the statistical institute said, accounting for 25.5% of the overall import figures.

However, crude oil imports showed a 0.31% decrease to 2.88 million tons in October, compared to 2.89 million tons in the same month a year ago.

Germany remained the biggest export market, receiving almost $1.69 billion, or 7.9%, of Turkish goods in October. It was followed by Iraq with $1.42 billion, the United States with $1.31 billion, Russia with $1.15 billion and the United Kingdom with $1.11 billion, the data showed.

These five markets alone received more than a third of Türkiye’s total outbound shipments both in October and the first 10 months of the year.

Imports from Russia – a major source of oil and gas for Türkiye – reached nearly $5 billion in October and $49.63 billion in the 10-month period, more than any other country.

Türkiye’s foreign deficit in the first 10 months of the year climbed 168.3% to $91.05 billion, the data showed, widening from $33.9 billion a year ago.

Exports and imports rose 15.4% and 39.4% to $209.39 billion and $300.44 billion, respectively.