World Bulletin/News Desk
Industrial output grew by 2.3 percent over 2011, though the output in December dipped by 3.8 percent year on year, a report from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) said on Friday.
The monthly declines were led by a drop in the mining sector, which fell by 10.4 percent. Manufactured goods, meanwhile, dropped by 3.6 percent, and electricity and natural gas production and distribution shrank by 2.9 percent, TurkStat reported. The calendar-adjusted production index dropped by 1.4 percent in December over the same month of 2011.
The monthly decrease exceeded what analysts polled by news agencies said would be a modest decline or standstill during the month, with Garanti Yatırım economist Gizem Altınsaç commenting to the Anatolia news agency on Friday that she had expected numbers to remain the same as in 2011.
Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün, meanwhile, emphasized the positive overall performance throughout the year, stating in a press release on Friday that while December's numbers might have been lower than expected, the note upgrade from ratings agency Fitch would help boost growth in 2013. “Measures taken in the short term to lower risks [to the economy] have been successful. ... We can see progress in, most importantly, foreign investment, which is increasing every day.” Ergün also stated that Ankara had “made preparations as best as possible” for 2013, referring to a more flexible central bank lending policy meant to spur growth.
İstanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) President Tanıl Küçük gave a less guarded assessment of the yearly production figures, calling the annual growth of 2.3 percent “below expectations” in a written statement on Friday. “In the first quarter of 2012, production grew by 1.3 percent, in the second by 3.1 percent and in the third by 2.2 percent. In the last quarter it remained below expectations at 0.8 percent,” the statement read.
The decline nonetheless came after a much better performance in November, when production increased by 11.3 percent compared to the same month the year before. Much of that increase was due to the shifting dates of a major religious holiday, however.
One of the largest contributors to the decline in December was a slowing down of export numbers for both manufactured goods and auto parts in the month, said Altınsaç. The economist told Anatolia, “These numbers are indeed not surprising. ... Declines in the second half of the year's industrial output have made the outlook quite negative.” December exporters sold 1.4 percent more goods overseas than in 2011, though much of the increase was because of the country's ongoing gold trade with Iran. Exports of manufactured goods and industrial equipment in the month dropped 9.3 percent year on year from $1.1 billion to $1 billion. The country's largest export sector, vehicles and automotive parts, meanwhile saw a 1.6 percent drop year on year to $1.4 billion in the month. The month also saw declines in the critical steel industry, which declined by 18.9 percent in December to $869 million from $1 billion in the same month of 2011.
The declines hardly come as a surprise while Turkey's traditional export markets remained mired in the ongoing eurozone crisis. Despite the crisis, Turkey has managed to record mostly positive growth in exports -- especially in its automotive sector -- over the past three years. Ankara has attributed the resiliency of foreign sales numbers to exporters' efforts to find new markets in the developing Middle East, Africa and Asia. Manufacturers, meanwhile, hope the government's promises of higher growth in 2013 will help them combat the slide in demand from their European buyers.Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2013, 11:02