Turkish Exporters Assembly: Exports increased by 7.6% m/m in May

According to Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), exports increased by 7.6% to 9 billion dollars in May compared to the previous month but fell by 42% year-on-year. 12-month rolling total exports fell to 152.4 billion US dollars in May due to the Covid-19 related weakness. Historical peak of 167.2 billion US dollars was recorded in February 2020.

A considerable monthly improvement in exports is not a surprise since manufacturing PMI figures of Turkey’s main exports market, Europe, exposed a slight improvement in May following a solid decline in April.

On a sectoral base, exports of industrial goods increased by 19% to 5.4 billion US dollars in May compared to the previous month. Exports of automotive industrial goods doubled on monthly basis to 1,2 billion US dollars. Besides, exports of clothing and apparel goods increased by 46% to 0,8 billion US dollars. On the other hand, export figures of iron and steel products, which are third largest industrial export goods of Turkey, sustained to decrease for the last four months to 0,8 billion US dollars in May, which is the lowest level since October 2017. As can be seen in the graph below, trade war started by Trump administration in March 2018 continues to have a negative impact on Turkey’s production and exporting of both Motor Vehicles and Spare Parts and Iron and Steel Products apart from Covid-19.

In 2019, Turkey’s top ten export markets are listed from the most to the least as follows: Germany, Italy, USA, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Israel, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. The graph below shows export performance of Turkey in country basis. Bursting Covid-19 in March 2020 reflected isolation and thus sharp deterioration in production, service, and trade in April. However, manufacturing PMI figures of May showed a slight improvement in economic activity associated with easing in isolation measures. Consequently, this has created a positive impact on Turkey’s exports performance in May.

Since Turkey’s industrial production depends on importing intermediate goods, it will not be a surprise to see an increase in import figures in May. The import figures of May will be released by Turkish Statistical Institute (www.turkstat.gov.tr) at the end of June.

Fulya Gürbüz, Ph.D.

Main factor in price increases is the depreciation of the Turkish lira

Turkish Statistical Institute released consumer (CPI) and domestic producer price (D-PPI) indices of May 2020. As can be seen in the graph above, monthly changes of both inflation figures have been rising continuously since December 2019.

CPI (2003=100) increased by 1.36% on monthly basis on the previous month by 1.36%, on December of the previous year by 4.57%, on same month of the previous year by 11.39% and on the twelve months moving averages basis by 12.10% in May 2020.

D-PPI (2003=100) increased by 1.54% on monthly basis, increased by 6.15% on December of the previous year basis, increased by 5.53% on same month of the previous year basis and increased by 9.14% on the twelve months moving averages basis in May 2020.

However, the year on year changes in both indices look more moderate:

If you pay attention to the graph above, I try to explain the year-on-year changes of inflation figures with the changes of USD/TRY. Why do I do that?

Because Turkey’s production mechanism depends mainly on intermediate goods imports, and payments are made in foreign currencies which are mainly in US dollars and Euro. Therefore, the price rise of imported goods in terms of Turkish lira is the most important factor affecting production costs and thus output prices.

As can be seen in the graph below, another important factor that causes price increases is the increase in taxes on goods.

Fulya Gürbüz, Ph.D.