Turkey’s exports this June soared 15.8% from the same month last year, bouncing back from a decline due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Turkey’s trade minister said on Thursday.

Hitting some $13.5 billion in June, exports posted a month-on-month rise of 35% thanks to the normalization process, Ruhsar Pekcan told Anadolu Agency’s Editor’s Desk in the capital Ankara.

Imports also rose 8.2% to $16.3 billion in the same period, Pekcan stressed.

The export-to-import coverage ratio was 82.6% in June 2020 versus 77.2% in June 2019, she added.


Double-digit sector growth

In the month, the foreign trade deficit rose 17.3% compared to the same month last year to $2.8 billion, while the foreign trade volume climbed 11.52% to $29.8 billion.

“Looking at the sectors with the highest export growth, there was an increase of 24% in textiles, 20% in iron and steel, and 18% in electronics,” she explained.

While the automotive industry stayed on top as Turkey’s leading export sector, in June its exports fell 11% year-on-year but rose 80% month-on-month, she added.

Pekcan also said Turkey’s highest increase in foreign sales by country came in its exports to the UK, up 43% in the month compared to the same month in 2019.

This was followed by Iran with a 37% rise, Russia with 34%, and China with 19.6%, she said.

In some countries such as Italy and France, Turkey’s exports fell in June compared to the same period in 2019, but she noted: “Interestingly, Turkey’s exports to these two countries climbed month-on-month.”

Exports to Italy and France posted respective rises of 55% and 45% in June compared to May.


Turkey made its mark in economy, healthcare

Touting the nation’s successes in the face of the pandemic, Pekcan said: “Turkey has distinguished itself in both the economy and healthcare, sending strong signals of recovery from the crisis thanks to the dedicated work of our exporters, manufacturers, and industrialists.”

Government measure provided a shield to protect local producers and industrialists, she said.

Pekcan also highlighted the demand for updating the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU, saying both sides would benefit and business leaders on both sides have long pressed for the change.

On the customs deal, she urged “putting politics on one side and trade and the economy on the other.”

On the foreign trade figures, Ismail Gulle, head of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), said Turkey’s export performance beyond expectations has proven it is a safe haven for global trade.

“We witnessed the positive contribution of public banks and private banks, especially Eximbank, to exporters in June, in all sectors,” he noted.

This cooperation carries great importance for offering low-interest loans to exporters and positive discrimination for women exporters, he said.

The country’s June export figures reflect this great effort, he added.

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