By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
Turkey's current account balance showed a surplus in August, for the first time over the past three years, the Turkish Central Bank (CBRT) announced on Thursday.
According to the CBRT's balance of payments report, the country's current account surplus amounted to $2.59 billion in August, improving from $923 million deficit in same month last year.
In September 2015, when a current account surplus was last observed, Turkey's current account balance recorded a surplus of $218 million.
On Tuesday, an Anadolu Agency survey showed that a group of 14 economists forecast a surplus of $2.46 billion on average. Therefore, Thursday's figures exceeded the expectations.
"The surplus in the current account is mainly attributable to $3.06 billion decrease in the goods deficit recording net outflow of $1.28 billion, as well as $741 million increase in net inflows in the services item realizing $4.63 billion," the CBRT said.
The bank noted that the country's current account balance -- excluding gold and energy -- showed a $5.11 billion surplus in August, up from $2.44 billion in the same month of 2017.
"Travel item under services account recorded a net inflow of $3.69 billion, increasing by $461 million compared to the same month of the previous year," it said.
Official figures also showed that Turkey's 12-month rolling deficit totaled $51.1 billion as of August, while the deficit was around $30.5 billion for January-August period this year.
According to economists surveyed by Anadolu Agency, Turkey's year-end current account deficit would be $40.1 billion on average -- varying between $37 billion and $45 billion.
Turkey's annual current account deficit in 2017 was some $47.5 billion -- around 5.6 percent of the country's GDP. Over the last two decades, the country's highest annual current account deficit was recorded in 2011 with $74.4 billion.
The country's new economic program, announced last month, is targeting a current-account-deficit-to-GDP ratio of 4.7 percent this year, 3.3 percent next year, 2.7 percent in 2020, and 2.6 percent in 2021.