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    Export performance problems might continue in 2010

    Fatih Özatay, PhD30 April 2009 - Okunma Sayısı: 1244


    This is the last day of April. In other words, one-thirds of the year has passed. Yet, no worthwhile economic program to limit the contractionary impact of the global crisis on the Turkish economy has been announced. As you might remember, if all measures presented in the crisis report prepared by TEPAV were implemented in March, growth rate was improved by 1.9 points: rate of contraction estimated as 5.5 percent was limited at 3.6 percent.

    It is apparent that, due to this delay, the recovery we have forecasted will not be realized. Furthermore, because of the measures that were implemented during the previous months and that do not have any coherence, we have wasted our resources for nothing: Public budget deficit, which will in any case be high will further increase. Additional burden of the measures recommended by TEPAV on the public budget corresponded to 1.3 percent of national income. As time and resources are wasted, it is getting harder and harder to implement additional measures at this scale.

    Tax cut geared towards the automotive sector can be given as an example for wasted resources. I know I am 'obsessed' about this issue; but who will benefit from the tax cut in a country where 85 percent of the vehicles produced are exported given that tax cut has nothing to do with exports, and more than 50 percent of the vehicles sold in domestic markets are imported?
    For God's sake; given that you have limited resources, is this the right area to spend them?

    There isn't much to do for 2009. But this is also a serious issue for 2010 and 2011; it is no laughing matter. With laughing matter, I refer to 'geometric' approaches; we have to let those go. I do not believe it is hard to acknowledge these points: 2010 will not be a bright year in terms of export performance. Maybe export levels will not fall as much as in 2009; but it will be hard to achieve the performance in good old days.

    At Referans daily on Monday, Baturalp Candemir presented a table. Candemir addressed twenty countries that constitute 67.5 percent of total Turkish exports in 2008. Then, he calculated the weighted average of national income growth rates for these countries where weights are determined in accordance with the share of the related country in Turkey's exports.

    Therefore, the average can be considered as the rate of income growth in Turkey's export market. It is observed that income growth which reached 4.3 percent in 2007 decreased to 3.1 percent in 2008. This rate is realized at -3 percent in 2009. And in 2010 income growth in Turkey's export market will be only 0.6 percent. Last two figures are provided by the growth (in fact contraction) estimations recently announced by the IMF. If you consider that these estimations will most probably be updated downwards and for instance compare 2010 with 2007; I believe my point will become apparent.

    We must note that changes in income levels of countries receiving Turkish exports are among the main determinants of our export performance. There is no doubt that, Turkey will not face much problems in terms of export performance if income level of a single country in our export market falls while that of others in our export markets rises. Nonetheless, here we are talking about a global problem.

    There are two more factors we have to take into account. First, exports are among main determinants of production level in Turkey. This phenomenon is more prevalent for sectors such as automotive sector. Second, global capital, which is also an important determinant of Turkey's growth rate does not seem to visit Turkey not only in 2009 but also in 2010.


    This commentary was published in Radikal daily on 30.04.2009