Fresh data suggest Turkey set to surpass 2012 export goal
Further strengthening Turkey's hand in slashing its foreign trade deficit, a stable recovery in exports continued through the first 10 months of this year, latest data show.

In a report that will be well received by business circles, the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM) announced in Bursa on Thursday that Turkey's sales of goods overseas between January and October had increased 12 percent over the same period a year before. TİM data said the country earned $124.8 billion in exports during the first 10 months of the year. The increase in exports in the first 10 months represented a $13.6 billion rise from the same period of 2011.

Following record growth of between 8.5 and 9 percent in the past two years, Turkey is currently experiencing a slowdown in growth. The country, however, set its end-2012 export target at $149.5 billion. This goal, if realized, will mark a prominent turning point towards Turkey's 2023 goal of $500 billion in annual revenue from exports.

Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said on Thursday that the government expects to see an even higher figure than the official year-end target of $149.5 billion should exports maintain their performance through the final two months of the year. Despite the first 10 months' euphoria, however, the month of October saw exports down by 0.2 percent from September to reach $11.7 billion. A six-day Eid al-Adha holiday was among the major factors in crippling domestic production, hence exports in October. With the addition of Oct. 29 Republic Day, Turkish employees worked two fewer days than in September.

Thursday's TİM figures follow an official foreign trade release from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) a day before. Turkey saw its national foreign trade deficit decline by an encouraging 34.7 percent in September from over a year ago, TurkStat said, citing a strong export performance for this recovery.

Chemical products had the lion's share in Turkish exports in October with a total value of $1.6 billion. The goods which saw the largest increase in exports in October were olives and olive oil Exports from this sector increased by 27.4 percent in October when compared to the same month last year. But the hero behind the scenes making the most critical contribution to Turkish exports since the beginning of the year was gold. For the first nine months of the year, Turkey's net exports in gold were $5.5 billion.

Germany was the country to receive the largest share of Turkish exports in October with $1.07 billion, followed by Iraq and the UK. Meanwhile, exports to civil war-torn Syria declined by a record 69 percent in the same period. Ankara-Damascus relations are at historic lows due to the conflict sporadically spilling over Turkish borders with Syria.

Among the provinces to enjoy the highest increase in goods sold overseas was the Western industrial hub of Kocaeli, with a 19 percent increase in exports in January-October over the same period of 2011. Turkey's largest metropolis, İstanbul, was the "export champion" in October with $5.16 billion.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-01 20:00:01
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