Turkey’s trade deficit widened to a record in August, driven by high energy costs and an increase in imports of precious metals.

The monthly gap reached $11.2 billion, just under the $11.3 billion median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The shortfall was the highest on record, according to data going back to 1984. The January-August shortfall was $73.4 billion, a 146% increase from a year earlier, official data showed.

The outlook for the trade balance has worsened since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, sending energy and commodity prices to record levels and adding to economic woes. A succession of benchmark interest-rate cuts has fueled runaway inflation and undermined the currency. 

Germany was Turkey’s top export destination in August, with $1.66 billion in sales. The top exporter to Turkey was Russia, a key energy provider, with $6.3 billion. 

Key insights

  • Exports in August rose 13.1% from a year earlier to $21.3 billion, while imports surged 40.4% to $32.5 billion.
  • Imports of mineral oils, an indicator of Turkey’s energy bill, increased 100% in August, from $4.37 billion to $8.73 billion.
  • Imports of precious metals, including gold, rose 389% in August to $2.64 billion.