Developments in Turkey’s External Merchandise Trade in 2020
In 2020, merchandise exports amounted to 169 billion 482 million US dollars with a decrease of 6.3% compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, merchandise imports increased by 4.3% and reached 219 billion 397 million US dollars. Imports excluding gold fell by 2.4% to 194 billion 213 million US dollars. Foreign trade volume in 2020 realized as 388 billion 879 million US dollars with a slight decline of 0.59% compared to the previous year. In 2020, the export/import coverage ratio was 77.2%. The export/import coverage ratio excluding gold realized as 85.8% (Figure 1).
Since March, the world economies have been dealing with severe economic recession due to the Covid-19 epidemic, which has caused significant contraction in the whole world economy. As a result, Turkish exports declined to 32.4 billion US dollars in the second quarter of 2020. Despite the negative effects of the pandemic, exports started to recover in the third quarter of the year. In the third quarter of the year, exports increased by 33.8 percent compared to the previous quarter and reached 43.3 billion US dollars with a rapid recovery. In the last quarter of the year, the growth phase started and the quarterly exports exceeded 50 billion US dollars for the first time and reached 51.2 billion US dollars, the highest quarterly Turkish export figure ever (Figure 2). In terms of international comparison, Turkey showed strong performance in the second half of 2020 (Figure 3). In December 2020, exports reached the highest monthly value (17 billion 850 million US dollars) in the history of the Republic of Turkey. In the same period, the export/import coverage ratio reached 87.0% excluding gold.
Figure 1. Turkey’s Export/Import Coverage Ratio
In 2020, the main export destination for Turkish exports was Germany representing an export value of 15 billion 975 million US dollars. Germany was followed by the United Kingdom and the USA with 11 billion 237 million US dollars and 10 billion 184 million US dollars of exports, respectively. In the same year, the top origin for Turkey's imports was China with 23 billion 20 million US dollars. The country was followed by Germany and Russia with 21 billion 714 million US dollars and 17 billion 859 million US dollars of imports, respectively.
Figure 2. Turkey’s Quarterly Merchandise Exports (Billion US Dollar)
In 2020, according to the broad economic activities categories classification, the export value of intermediate, consumption and capital goods were 80 billion 276 million US dollars, 68 billion 210 million US dollars and 19 billion 782 million US dollars, respectively. In the same year, the import value of intermediate, capital and consumption goods were 162 billion 924 million US dollars, 31 billion 811 million US dollars and 24 billion 95 million US dollars, respectively.
In 2020, Turkey exported motor land vehicles (22 billion 79 million US dollars), machinery (16 billion 783 million US dollars) and electrical machines and devices (9 billion 300 million US dollars) most. In the same year, mineral fuels and oils (28 billion 931 million US dollar), precious or semi-precious stones (26 billion 590 million US dollars) and machinery (25 billion 249 million US dollars) were what Turkey imported most.
In 2020, the number of exporter companies increased by 3.6% compared to the previous year and exceeded 87,400. The number of companies exporting for the first time in 2020 was 18.123.
Figure 3. Quarterly Export Volume Index (2014 Q1=100)
Source: World Trade Organization