The Turkish exports neared $10 billion last month in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, down 40.9 percent from the same month last year, according to preliminary Trade Ministry data released on June 2.
“Our exports increased 10.84 percent in May compared with the previous month, while they contracted 40.88 percent to $9.96 billion versus the same month of last year,” said a statement from the ministry.
Commenting on the figures, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said Turkish exports fell on an annual basis due to lower external demand, high-base effects in 2019, and bank holidays.
“Turkey left the worst behind with the May export figures, recovery begins,” Pekcan said on Twitter.
The country’s imports also narrowed by 27.7 percent to $13.4 billion in the same period, the data showed.
She stressed that intermediate and investment goods imports constituted 91.2 percent of the total, pointing to a rise in production and exports for the coming period.
Pekcan said that the export/import coverage ratio climbed to 74.3 percent, up from 66.3 percent in May 2019.
Turkey last month saw a nearly 34 percent annual decline in the foreign trade volume to $23.4 billion, according to the data.
May’s foreign trade deficit was more than double the deficit in the same month last year, reaching $3.4 billion.
“Our exports on a working-day basis in May surged 28.5 percent compared to April, hitting $540.5 million,” Pekcan added.
There were only 16 official working days in May, 8 days less than in May 2019, due to coronavirus lockdowns, May 19 Youth and Sports Day and Ramadan Feast.
As a result of the pandemic, demand from Turkey’s main export markets – particularly the European region – contracted unprecedentedly.
Exports to the EU, the country’s main export market with a share of over 45 percent, soared 17.3 percent on a monthly basis in May, she noted.
The Eurozone countries saw a GDP decline of 3.8 percent in the first quarter, according to official data, marking the worst figure since quarterly data has been released since 1995. The U.S. economy, in the meantime, contracted 5 percent.
Stating that the economy’s main locomotive sectors saw a revival in exports compared to a month earlier, Pekcan said automotive exports jumped 95.5 percent, ready-wear exports rose 45.5 percent, and textile and defense exports climbed 35.5 percent and 33.9 percent, respectively.
Turkish exports reached 206 markets in May, with Germany, the United States and Iraq being the top three countries as in the previous months. Turkey’s main import partners were China, Germany and Russia, as usual.
In April, Turkey had seen a fall in exports of 55 percent to the United Kingdom, 50.2 percent to France, 38.1 percent to Belgium, 37.2 percent to Canada, 35.8 percent to Russia and 29.3 percent to the United States on a monthly basis.
In May, Turkey’s exports recovered 71.5 percent to France, 57.9 percent to Belgium, 55.3 percent to Canada, 54.7 percent to the United Kingdom, 45.6 percent to the United States and 15 percent to Russia.