Bloomberg News

Turkish Trade Deficit Widened to Record $10.1 Billion in May

June 30, 2011

(Updates with economist’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s trade deficit more than doubled in May from a year earlier, driving a further expansion in a current-account deficit that’s already at record levels.

The deficit was $10.1 billion in the month, the biggest on record, compared with $4.9 billion a year earlier, the statistics office in Ankara said on its website today. The figure exceeded the median estimate of $9.4 billion from 12 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

The central bank has raised the amount of reserves banks must set aside four times since December, seeking to reduce the consumer lending that’s fueling demand for imports. Still, the economy expanded 11 percent annually in the first three months, the fastest rate among the Group of 20 developed economies.

“Higher-than-expected GDP growth and a wider trade deficit just confirm the risk of overheating,” Gaelle Blanchard, an analyst at Societe Generale in London, said in e-mailed comments. “This will put further pressure on the central bank to raise rates, but if they stick to their policy, the lira will likely remain under pressure.”

Central bank Governor Erdem Basci held the benchmark one- week repo lending rate unchanged at a historic low of 6.25 percent on June 23. The bank predicts the current-account balance, the widest measure of trade in goods and services, will start improving in the last three months of the year.

The 12-month current-account gap more than doubled from a year earlier to $63.4 billion in April, the most since records began in 1984.

Exports in May rose 12 percent to $10.95 billion, the statistics agency said today. Imports gained 43 percent to $21 billion, it said.

--Editors: Heather Langan, Jennifer M. Freedman

To contact the reporters on this story: Steve Bryant in Ankara at sbryant5@bloomberg.net; Ali Berat Meric in Ankara at americ@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.


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