Turkey’s trade deficit narrowed yet again in November, propelled by a drop in imports and a rise in exports for the fifth consecutive month. 

The trend signals subdued economic activity influenced by restrained domestic demand as the Turkish central bank continues to raise interest rates aggressively. 

Preliminary data released by the Trade Ministry on Saturday shows a trade gap of $5.9 billion in November, down from $8.8 billion a year earlier. 

Despite weakening demand in major European markets, Turkey’s exports have showcased resilience — while imports have continued to fall. 

The decline in imported goods aligns with the Turkish central bank’s stance on interest rates, forming part of its strategy to curb inflation following the general election in May. The institution raised the benchmark one-week repo rate by 500 basis points to 40% in November, marking the sixth consecutive rate hike since June and underlining the end of cheap credit in the country. 

Turkey’s top export destinations in November included Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq, whereas China, Russia and Germany stood out as primary import sources.

Key highlights from November’s trade data:

  • Exports rose by 5.2% y/y, totaling $23 billion
  • Imports fell by 5.6% y/y, amounting to $28.9 billion
  • Over 11 months, imports increased by 0.5% on annual basis to $332.8 billion, while exports saw a 0.7% rise, reaching $232.9 billion
  • Excluding energy and gold data, the adjusted export-to-import ratio experienced a slight decline, settling at 95.2%