ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey is expected to record a current account deficit of $10 billion in January on back of gold imports, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, while the deficit was seen at $43.5 billion in 2023.
In a Reuters poll, the median estimate of 11 economists for the current account deficit in January was $10 billion, with forecasts ranging from $6 billion to $11.1 billion.
Turkey’s trade deficit, a major component of the current account, widened 38% in January to $14.24 billion, data showed, mainly due to the sharp rise in gold imports and surging cost of energy imports.
A rise in household demand for gold has been seen due to traditional patterns of buying and recent high inflation.
According to data from statistics institute, the trade deficit, excluding the energy and gold, stood at $1.79 billion in the same period.
The median forecast of six economists for the deficit in 2023 stood at $43.5 billion, with estimates ranging between $35 billion and $50 billion.
Ankara sees the deficit at $22 billion this year, according to official forecasts announced in September. In 2022 deficit stood at $48.8 billion largely due to heavy energy bill and gold imports.
Under President Tayyip Erdogan’s new plan, authorities are working to turn Turkey’s chronic current account deficits to a surplus, which the central bank says will help establish price stability.
Economists are monitoring the impact of the massive earthquakes that hit the country’s southeast as well as the course of energy and gold imports after authorities introduced measures to limit gold imports last month.
The earthquakes led to a drop of $1.5 billion in exports in February, trade ministry data showed, contributing to a 52.8% surge in the trade deficit year-on-year to $12.19 billion.
Turkey’s central bank is scheduled to announce the January current account data at 0700 GMT on March 13.
(Polling by Ezgi Erkoyun and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Toby Chopra)