Turkey current account deficit seen at $4.6 billion in August – poll

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Turkey is expected to post a current account deficit of $4.6 billion in August after imports surged, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

It reported a current account surplus of $3.34 billion in August last year. Forecasts varied between deficits of $1.5 billion and $4.9 billion, Reuters said, citing the survey of 12 economists.

Imports surged by an annual 20 percent in August, according to data published by the Turkish Statistical Institute. Exports fell by 5.7 percent. That discrepancy produced a trade deficit of $6.28 billion.

The August deficit would be the largest since April, when the central bank reported a gap of $5.21 billion. The deficit in July was $1.82 billion.

Investors say Turkey’s widening current account deficit symbolises growing imbalances in the economy, exacerbated by a government-backed borrowing splurge by businesses and consumers. Imports have continued to rise despite a slump in the lira’s value. The currency dropped to a record low of 7.9485 per dollar on Thursday, taking losses this year to about 25 percent.

Reuters said economists’ estimates for the year-end current account deficit had risen to $33 billion in the poll from the $26.5 billion forecast in a survey last month. The predictions ranged between deficits of $31 billion and $40.3 billion.

Turkey posted a record current account deficit of $52 billion in 2018. A similar surge in imports, spurred on by government stimulus measures, helped spark a currency crisis in August of that year.

The currency crisis led to a deep economic recession and helped the country post a series of monthly current account surpluses during 2019.

The central bank is set to announce the August data on Monday.

Ahval

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