Turkish imports surge in July, dwarfing increase in exports

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit widened in July as imports surged, growing more than three times faster than exports, preliminary government data showed.

Imports increased by an annual 40.8 percent to $29.1 billion last month. Exports rose 13.4 percent to $18.6 billion, the trade ministry said on its website on Wednesday.

The trade deficit widened to $10.6 billion in July from $4.33 billion a year ago.

Turkey imports nearly all of the oil and natural gas it consumes, meaning a jump in global prices has led to a much higher energy import bill. The central bank has also cut interest rates, which stand at 14 percent versus inflation of almost 80 percent, encouraging Turks to borrow to finance purchases of imported goods and raw materials.

The trade deficit for July was the second largest on record after the deficit for May, which was $22 million larger. The June deficit was $8.17 billion.

The trade gap for the first seven months of the year was $62 billion compared with $25.5 billion for the same period of last year.

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