An apparent surge in Turkey’s gold sales limited a general decline in the country’s exports in February. February exports fell 4.36 percent from a year earlier to $12.241 billion, the Customs and Trade Ministry said on Monday. Their figures were at odds with Sunday’s Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) data showing a 13 percent fall to $10.5 billion.
Analysts attributed the discrepancy of nearly $1.8 billion mainly to the trade in gold, which is excluded from the TIM data. The ministry figures showed precious metals and stones as the largest export sector in February, rising to $1.88 billion from $1.11 billion a year earlier. It did not provide a specific figure for gold, but analysts say it makes up the largest share of sales in this sector.
In the first two months of the year, the sector’s exports surged to $3.59 billion from $1.65 billion a year earlier. This far outpaced the automotive sector, usually Turkey’s largest exporter, which rose to $2.83 billion from $2.64 billion.
The ministry data showed Britain was the largest export market in February, followed by Switzerland, both outstripping Germany, traditionally the biggest recipient of Turkish goods.