Turkey’s industrial output plummeted by 31.4 pct in April due to pandemic

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Turkey’s industrial output slumped a more-than-expected 31.4 percent, and its current account deficit widened beyond $5 billion in April as it felt the impact of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, data showed on Friday, Reuters reported.

Many factories and businesses halted operations after Turkey identified its first COVID-19 case on March 11 and imposed restrictions.

The disruption is expected to mark the second severe contraction in as many years in the major emerging market economy.

Month-on-month, industrial production was down 30.4 percent in April on a calendar and seasonally adjusted basis, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data.

Industry Minister Mustafa Varank said on Twitter the fall was driven by both domestic and foreign demand and that “a recovery began in May and accelerated in June” and should grow through year end.

Turkey’s central bank said the current account deficit grew in April to $5.062 billion, exceeding a poll forecast of $4.5 billion. In March it was $4.844 billion.

Pandemic measures have hit exports and tourism revenues, reviving long-standing concerns about the growing deficits that can leave economies reliant on speculative inflows of funds.

The government had forecast 5 percent economic growth in 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak and has since maintained it could remain positive. But most economists see a contraction this year due to a near standstill in the second quarter.

The Turkish lira was slightly firmer on Wednesday, standing at 6.8295 against the dollar at 0922 GMT, compared to a close of 6.8390 on Thursday.

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