Turkey current account deficit seen widening to $3.6 billion in March


Turkey’s current account deficit was expected to surge to $3.6 billion in March, as imports outpaced exports during the outbreak of the coronavirus, according to a survey by state-run Anadolu news agency.

The current account, the widest measure of inflows and outflows of goods and services, probably widened from $589 million in March 2019, according to the median estimate in the survey of 13 economists published on Monday. Turkey posed a deficit of $1.23 billion in February.

Turkey is seeking to boost exports of goods and services to help stave off the worst effects on the economy of COVID-19. The government was forced to shut down shops after the first case of the virus on March 11 and many manufacturers slashed production and began laying off staff as demand from abroad slumped.

The central bank is due to publish March current account data on Wednesday.

Many economists and investors look to the current account to help ascertain the direction of the value of the lira, which slumped to a record low of 7.269 per dollar last week. Turkey needs to finance its current account deficit with hard currency from other resources such as foreign investments and its tourism industry, which has been shuttered by the pandemic.

The lira fell by less than 0.1 percent on Monday to 7.087 per dollar.

The current account deficit for 2020 as a whole was forecast at $8.2 billion, Anadolu said.



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