Gold again, gold again!

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY - Alaatt n AKTAS Economist

Our total exports amounted to $12.5 billion in January. Of that, $31 million, or 2 percent of it, was generated from gold exports.

Imports on the other hand stood at $21.5 billion dollars. Gold imports were $2.3 billion, or, to be exact, 10.7 percent.

The foreign trade deficit in- creased by a…shall we call it respectabl­e?... 108.8 percent and reached $9.1 billion in January. A significan­t part of this deficit was accounted for by the gold trade deficit.

What’s going on, really? What’s the deal?

Tar ffs changed

TUIK trade records used to use the term “bar gold.” But by 2018 “nonstandar­d untreated gold” or “standard untreated gold” replaced the “bar gold” term.

That’s a befitting step, because they used to say, “Imported gold is not all bar gold. A part of it is the scrap gold imported to be treated in refineries in Turkey.” And this item we’ve been seeing as bar gold until this year is now separated into two as “standard” and “nonstandar­d” untreated gold.

So we are now able to make an anlaysis: How much scrap gold does Turkey import to treat in Turkey?

January f gures n deta l

We imported $502 million worth of scrap gold, or nonstandar­d, untreated gold, in January. That’s a reasonable amount.

But what about standard, untreated gold imports? This amounted to exactly $1.788 billion. That’s the bulk of gold imports. Why does Turkey need so much bar gold?

Let me point out that all of the $31 million of gold exports were in bar gold. That makes sense, right?

Wh ch countr es?

Countries from which we import scrap gold, in order of volume, are as follows: United Arab Emirates at $184.5 million, Iraq with $88.9 million, Germany with $52 million, Venezuela at $40.9 million and Guinea with $28.6 million.

The top five countries for bar gold imports are: Canada at $441.8 million, Switzerlan­d at $338.4 million, Australia at $325.2 million, South Africa at $280 million and United Arab Emirates at $166.3 million.

Through the whole 2017 we imported $16.6 billion worth of gold in comparison with an export of $6.6 billion.

So the import phenomenon that began last year is still going on today. These imports deteriorat­e both the foreign trade balance and the current account balance as well.

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