Deficit falls to $4.96 billion from $7.3 billion for the same month in the previous year.

ANKARA – Turkey’s foreign trade deficit decreased sharply in April, the Turkish Statistical Institute said in a report released on Friday.

In April, the deficit decreased to $4.96 billion, down 31.9 percent from $7.3 billion for the same month last year, the report said.

The decline followed an increase of 17.2 percent in March.

The institute valued April exports at $13.4 billion, a 0.2 percent increase year-on-year, while imports were down to $18.4 billion with  an 11.1 percent decline.

The country’s exports to the EU, Turkey’s main trading partner, declined by 10.4 percent in April to $5.3 billion.

“The figure is above estimates. But it was close and we are on the verge of elections which markets tend to avoid sharp moves. That’s why market reaction is limited.” Adnan Cekcen, a financial analyst at Destek Securities in Istanbul, said.

The institute valued April exports at $13.4 billion, a 0.2 percent increase year-on-year, imports also down to $18.4 billion with a 11.1 percent decline.

“After March, which we saw 14.4 percent decrease, there is a 0.2 percent increase in exports. This is important because at least it showed that decline in exports halted. Besides imports showed a decline at 11.2 percent while it was down near 6 percent in March.” Cekcen said.

“Many authorities expected slide in value of Turkish lira would support our exports but we see it did not come out as expected. This indicates that weak foreign demand, as it was repeatedly pointed by the Turkey’s Central Bank, adversely affected exports.”

Cekcen noted that Turkey’s exports performance is prone to be affected by geopolitical tensions especially in its neighbors and trade partners much more than competitive level of Turkish lira against other currencies.

Switzerland was the main export destination for Turkey in April. Turkey exported $1.25 billion worth of goods to the country. The top country for Turkey’s imports was China with $1.9 billion