Turkish current account in surplus for third month, beats forecast


ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s current account showed a surplus of $2.77 billion in October, the third monthly surplus after many years of deficit, central bank data showed on Tuesday, as a currency crisis has driven up the cost of imports and weakened domestic demand.

According to a Reuters poll of 16 economists, the current account data had been expected to show a surplus of $2.55 billion in October, up from last month’s surplus of $1.83 billion.

Along with persistent double-digit inflation, Turkey’s current account balance has been a long-term source of concern for investors.

Apart from two months in 2015, it was in deficit every month from October 2009, meaning the economy has relied on speculative foreign inflows to finance the shortfall.

But following a currency crisis that saw the lira plunge as much as 47 percent against U.S. dollar since the start of the year, the current account recorded rare surpluses in August and September, as the cost of imports surged.

The lira <TRYTOM=D3>, which has weakened 28 percent against the dollar this year, stood at 5.3250 after the data, from a close of 5.3270 on Monday.

The current account deficit in October 2017 was $3.84 billion. The goods surplus rose to $799 million in October, versus deficit of $5.64 billion when compared to the same period a year earlier.

The Reuters poll showed the current account is expected to record an overall deficit of $29.5 billion in 2018, down from the $33 billion deficit forecast in a previous Reuters poll.

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