Turkish industry slammed by coronavirus in April

Turkey’s industrial output slumped a more than expected 31.4% and its current account deficit widened to more than $5 billion in April, as the major emerging market economy felt the full impact of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Turkey identified its first COVID-19 case on March 11 and soon after took steps to slow the spread, with many factories halting operations. The disruption is expected to lead to the economy’s second severe contraction in as many years.

Month-on-month, industrial production was down 30.4% in April on a calendar and seasonally adjusted basis, the Turkish Statistical Institute data showed.

The year-on-year 31.4% drop exceeded a Reuters poll forecast of 17% and compared with a 2% fall in March.

Separately, data from Turkey’s central bank showed the current account deficit widened in April to $5.062 billion, exceeding a poll forecast of $4.5 billion. In March, the deficit was $4.844 billion.

Measures against the coronavirus have hit exports and tourism revenues, reviving long-standing concerns about the current account deficit. Large deficits leave economies reliant on speculative inflows of funds.

The government had forecast 5% economic growth in 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak. Officials say it could still log positive growth, but most economists see a contraction this year due to a near economic stand-still in the second quarter.


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