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2 in 1: Türkiye grabs record share in global goods, services exports

Türkiye managed to secure a record share in global outbound shipments and services exports throughout last year, the Trade Ministry announced on Thursday.

Despite multiple challenges, the nation’s exports reached a third straight annual peak to nearly $256 billion (TL 8.28 trillion) in 2023, compared to $254 billion in 2022, according to official data.

This took the share in global exports from 1.02% in 2022 to 1.08% in 2023, marking the highest level in history with a 0.06 percentage point increase, the ministry said in a statement, citing a World Trade Organization (WTO) report.

Service exports also reached a record level, totaling $100.8 billion, with a share of 1.3% in global exports.

The records came despite the pair of devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye’s southeastern region in February last year. The disaster caused around $6 billion in export losses, according to the government.

Other challenges included global tightening that curbed demand, including in the EU, Türkiye’s biggest export market, and geopolitical conflicts in the region.

“As the Ministry of Trade, we continue to work with all our strength to increase Türkiye’s share in global production and trade with the policies and strategies we pursue in the perspective of value-added, innovation and competitiveness-oriented production and exports,” the statement read.

“To further strengthen our position in the global supply chain, we will make the best use of the trends in global trade and continue to increase the gains we have achieved,” it said.

In its “Global Trade Outlook and Statistics” report, unveiled on Tuesday, the WTO said global goods exports decreased by 5% to around $24 trillion in 2023.

It said the decline was mostly offset by a 9% increase in global services trade, which reached $7.54 trillion.

The organization said import volumes were down in most regions but especially in Europe, where they fell sharply.

It said large fuel-exporting economies were the main exceptions, as their imports were sustained by strong export revenues as energy prices remained high by historical standards.

Global merchandise trade volume unexpectedly declined by 1.2% in 2023, which the WTO attributed to the ongoing impact of high energy prices and inflation, which continued to weigh heavily on demand for manufactured goods.

But a recovery in the global trade of goods is already underway, thanks in part to inflation slowing.

The WTO expects global trade volume to increase by 2.6% in 2024 and by 3.3% in 2025. The 2024 forecast was lower than the 3.3% hike the WTO predicted for the year last October.

It is forecast that the global economy will continue to grow modestly over the next two years, by 2.6% this year and 2.7% in 2025.

The Turkish government sees the country’s exports reaching $267 billion by the end of 2024.

However, the WTO warned that regional conflicts, geopolitical tensions and economic policy uncertainty risked darkening the picture.

“We are making progress toward global trade recovery,” WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement, stressing that it was “imperative that we mitigate risks like geopolitical strife and trade fragmentation.”

The WTO said that the inflationary pressures that weighed on trade last year were expected to abate in 2024.

This, it said, would allow real incomes to grow again, especially in advanced economies, and thereby provide a boost to the consumption of manufactured goods.

“A recovery of demand for tradable goods in 2024 is already evident,” the WTO said.

But it cautioned that “geopolitical tensions and policy uncertainty could limit the extent of the trade rebound.”

The report pointed for instance to the Red Sea crisis and Suez Canal disruptions linked to the war raging in Gaza, which it said to now had been relatively limited.

But “some sectors, such as automotive products, fertilizers and retail, have already been affected by delays and freight costs hikes,” it pointed out.

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