From the beginning of 2019, the Turkish Trade Ministry has been pushing for the acceptance of the General Trade System (GTS) calculation method of foreign trade as opposed to the Special Trade System (STS) calculation method.
The GTS method, which is more inclusive, has been seen to provide more positive trade figures, and the Trade Ministry clearly wants to take advantage of this change in calculation. The Trade Ministry, in its monthly preliminary reports of trade figures, has shown over the last year both the GTS and STS figures one after the other in the same report. However, in its press announcements and bulletin summaries, the Ministry has prefered to convey the GTS figures only.
The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK- TurkStat) continued to provide its monthly detailed data using the STS method over the last year because it needed time to calculate the relative GTS figures going back to and including 2013 for comparative purposes. However, as from January 1st, 2020, having completed its back calculation of GTS figures, it is clear that TurkStat has decided to give precedence to the GTS calculation method of foreign trade over the STS method. TurkStat is continuing to prepare foreign trade figures according to the STS method, but is likely to discontinue presentation of STS data at some time in the future.
For these reasons, our website has decided to analyse Turkey’s foreign trade data according to the GTS method as from January 2020, and visitors to our website should be aware that our analyses will be based on different data prior to and subsequent to 2019 yearend.
As a reminder, there are broadly two approaches, closely linked with customs procedures, used for the measurement of international trade in goods. These are the general trade system and the special trade system. The General Trade System (GTS) is the wider concept and under it the statistical territory includes customs warehouses, all types of free zones, free circulation area and premises for inward processing. The Special Trade System (STS), on the other hand, is a narrower concept. Customs warehouses, all types of free zones and premises for inward processing are excluded from the statistical territory by the strict definition of the special trade system; thus only imports and exports of the free circulation area are recorded.
According to preliminary figures provided by the Trade Ministry based on the General Trade System (GTS), Turkey’s foreign trade deficit for February 2020 was USD 2,996 million, 72.9% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 32.6% lower than the USD 4,448 million deficit figure for the previous month of January 2020.
Exports were USD 14,655 million in February 2020, 2.3% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 0.7% lower than the figure for the previous month of January 2020. Imports were USD 17,651 million in February 2020, 9.9% higher than the figure for the same month of the previous year, but 8.1% lower than the figure for the previous month of January 2020.
The percentage of imports met by exports was 83% in February 2020 compared with 89.2% in the same month of the previous year.
With regards the first two months of 2020, Turkey’s foreign trade deficit was USD 7,444 million, 85% higher than the figure for the same period of the previous year. Exports were USD 29,414 million, 4.3% higher, and imports were USD 36,858 million,14.4% higher than the figures for the same period of the previous year
Automotive exports were prominent in Turkey’s total exports with USD 2,177 million in February 2020, representing a 0.8% decrease on its figure for the same month of the previous year, but a 2.3% increase on its figure for the previous month of January 2020. The automotive sector’s share of total exports in February 2020 was 14.9% compared with 14.4% in the previous month of January 2020.
The energy sector, with USD 3,149 million, again had the biggest share of imports in February 2020. This energy import figure was 7.1% lower than the figure for the same month of the previous year, and 23.4% lower than the figure for the previous month of January. The energy sector’s share of total imports in February 2020 was 17.8% compared with 21.4% in January 2020.
The top five countries to which Turkey exported in February 2020 are Germany (USD 1,340 million), Iraq (USD 906 million), UK (USD 857 million), Italy (USD 767 million), and USA (USD 739 million). The top five countries from which Turkey imported in February 2020 are Russia (USD 1,716 million), China (USD 1,712 million), Germany (USD 1,624 million), USA (USD 1,299 million), and Iraq (USD 1,132 million).
For the year 2019, the trade deficit was USD 29,476 million, a 45.4% decrease on the previous year. Exports in the year 2019 were USD 180,871 million (a 2.1% increase) and imports were USD 210,347 million (a 9% decrease).