Turkey: Exports decline by 8.6 percent in 2015

Political instability around Turkey hurt the country's exports, minister says

Turkey: Exports decline by 8.6 percent in 2015



Turkey’s exports reached $143,9 billion in 2015, an 8.6 percent decline from $157.6 billion in 2014, Turkish Economy Minister Mustafa Elitas told the press on ​Monday. 

Elitas, who is responsible for the country's foreign trade, said in a joint press conference with Mehmet Buyukeksi, the head of Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, that the trade deficit narrowed 25.5 percent in 2015, as exports fell. 

"The political events and conflicts in the world, in particular around Turkey, were a major source of instability. We had to respond with new strategies to the situation. Our experts are following new developments and are taking necessary measures," Elitas said.

Turkey’s exports increased from $36.1 billion in 2002 to nearly $158 billion in 2014, according to the ministry.

Elitas said imports saw a 14.5 percent decline in the same period to $207.1 billion in 2015 from $220.4 billion in the previous year. 

According to Elitas, export volumes increased in 2015, although their value decreased. 

"The main reason for the decline in our exports to European countries, especially to Germany, was the drop in the value of the euro against the dollar," Elitas said.

"In 2015 the euro fell 19.7 percent  against the U.S. currency from the previous year. While the dollar value of our exports to Europe was $64.3 billion in 2014, this figure dropped to $58.7 billion in 2015," Elitas said.

"The low value of the  euro cost Turkish exporters $12.9 billion in revenue," Elitas added.

He pointed out that Turkey is among many countries seeing losses in exports performance in the weak global economy.

EU28 exports fell by 13 percent, German exports by 12 percent, Brazil's exports by 16 percent, U.S. exports by 6 percent and China's by 2 percent from a year earlier , Elitas said.

The automotive sector was again the driving force of the country's exports with a 4.8 percent decrease on an annual basis to $21.3 billion in 2015 from $22.27 billion in 2014. The textile sector's annual exports were down 9,3 percent, accounting for $16.9 billion. The chemicals sector came in third as its exports contracted by more than 14.8 percent to $16.3 billion, Elitas said.

But the jewelry sector increased its exports by 46.3 percent and the Turkish defense and aviation sectors’ exports also grew by 2.4 percent, according to Elitas.

The Turkish government's targets reaching exports of $500 billion by 2023.   

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