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Economy in Brief

Turkey's Trade Deficit Much Smaller in December; Auto Sector Boosts Exports
by Carol Stone January 31, 2007

The trade deficit in Turkey shrank markedly in December. The Turkish Statistical Institute reported it at $3.08 billion, compared with $4.18 billion in November and $4.44 billion in December 2005. This was the smallest deficit since $3.01 billion in January 2006. After seasonal adjustment by Haver Analytics, the comparison is more distinct. December's $2.03 billion deficit was the lowest since $1.30 billion in November 2003.

Exports totaled $7.87 billion in the month, actually down 8.6% from November, but up 16.6% from a year ago. The largest categories were in the machinery sector, especially including transport equipment. Turkey is growing rapidly as a producer of cars and trucks. In 2006 as a whole, plants in the country produced 916,008 cars and pick-up trucks. Exports of these and other vehicles totaled $11.7 billion, making 13.8% of total goods exports. Total exports grew 15.9% last year, with "road vehicles" up 24.4%.

Imports were $9.90 billion, seasonally adjusted, in December, down from November by $2.9 billion or 22.5%. The unadjusted data were down 9.5% in the month. In most recent years, before seasonal adjustment, imports have spiked in December, then fallen sharply in January. So the outright decline in December's actual figure translated into a sizable cut in the seasonally adjusted result. Sources of the decline included petroleum and natural gas, chemicals, metals and transport equipment. For all of 2006, imports totaled $137.03 billion, up 17.3% from 2005.

Data on Turkey from its official national sources are contained in Haver's EMERGEMA database. That rapidly expanding database now includes 18 Middle East and African countries.

Monthly Averages
TURKEY (Mil.$) Dec 2006 Nov 2006 Oct 2006 Dec 2005
2006 2005 2004
Trade Balance, SA -2,026 -4,161 -5,043 -3,254 -- -- --
  NSA -3,083 -4,183 -4,446 -4,437 -4,353 -3,606 -2,865
Exports, SA 7,873 8,618 6,307 6,769 7,095 6,123 5,264
  Yearly % Chg         +15.9 +16.3 +33.7
Imports, SA 9,899 12,779 11,350 10,023 11,419 9,731 8,128
  Yearly % Chg         17.3 19.7 40.7
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