Monday, 12 January 2015

Turkish exports hit record high in 2014

Turkey’s automotive industry driving growth in Turkish exports. Photo: Fiat-Tofaş Bursa factory, 2012

Turkey’s annual export figures rose to an all-time high in 2014. According to the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM), exports grew by 4 percent to $157.6 billion last year.

While the figures came in slightly below the government’s target of $160.5 billion, the ongoing economic challenges in Europe and conflict in Turkey’s neighbourhood meant the news was warmly welcomed by both the government and business sector.

The primary sectors driving Turkish exports were the automotive industry (overseas sales of $22.3 bn last year), textiles ($18.7 bn) and chemicals ($17.8 bn), with these sectors growing between 2 and 8 percent abroad. Sales from Turkey’s jewellery, defence and aviation sectors also recorded significant increases in 2014.

The UK in Turkey's top five export markets

While exports to Europe slowed in the second half of the year, four out of Turkey’s five big export markets remain within the EU. 

According to Nihat Zeybekci, Turkey’s Economy Minister, the country’s leading export markets in 2014 were Germany ($14.9 billion), Iraq ($10.7 billion), the U.K. ($9.7 billion), Italy ($7 billion) and France ($6.4 billion). Turkey’s exports to neighbouring Russia fell 15 percent last year as a result of the ongoing Ukraine crisis and Russia’s currency depreciation following Western sanctions.

Turkey’s key centres of export production are Istanbul, with 43 percent ($68 billion sales), followed by Bursa ($12.7 billion – or 8 percent), Kocaeli ($12.4 billion / 7.9 percent), İzmir ($8.9 billion / 5.6 percent) and Ankara ($7.5 billion / 4.8).

TIM president Mehmet Büyükekşi
The annual figures continue the upward trend that started with AKP’s entry into government. In 2002, Turkey’s net exports were worth a mere $36.1 billion. AKP believe they can reach $500 bn by 2023. However, there is less optimism for this year’s growth.

TIM president Mehmet Büyükekşi told reporters that 2015's circumstances is likely to be more challenging, with the U.S. Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates. 

"Cautiously but optimistically, we need to use opportunities in exports and we have to create new opportunities," Büyükekşi added.

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