Istanbul (Reuters): Turkey’s exports reached a record $15.1 billion in March, economy minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Sunday during a televised interview on private broadcaster CNNTurk.
“We reached the highest number in our history in exports, $ 15.1 billion,” Zeybekci said.
The Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) also said in a statement on Sunday that the country’s exports rose 11.5% year-on-year in March to exceed $ 15 billion for the first time.
It said exports in the last 12 months had risen 10.5% to around $ 160 billion.
Data from Turkey’s official statistics institute on Friday showed exports stood at $ 13.18 billion in February. They also showed Turkey’s trade deficit had widened 54.2% year-on-year to $ 5.76 billion.
TIM President Mehmet Buyukeksi said the assembly was aiming for exports to exceed $ 170 billion at the end of the year.
Zeybekci also said he expected tourism revenues to reach $ 51-52 billion in 2018 from around $ 26 billion in 2017.
Tourism, a major source of funding to plug Turkey’s persistent current account deficit, is recovering from a sharp downturn caused by bomb attacks, diplomatic disputes and a failed coup.
Foreign arrivals surged over 27% in 2017 to 32.4 million, largely boosted by Russian tourists after Turkey patched up a rift with Moscow, concerns over security eased and the sector offered discounts to attract customers.