The Republic of Turkey shipped US$171.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects an 18.9% increase since 2015 and a modest 1.9% gain from 2018 to 2019.
Turkey’s exported goods totaled $135.7 billion during the first 10 months of 2020. Assuming an annualized $162.8 billion in exports for all 2020, Turkey is on track for an estimated -4.8% drop in value for its shipments from 2019 to 2020.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Turkish lira depreciated by -106% against the US dollar since 2015 and declined by -14.7% from 2018 to 2019. Turkey’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
From a continental perspective, 56% of Turkish exports by value were delivered to European countries while 25.9% were sold to importers in Asia. Turkey shipped another 9.3% worth of goods to Africa and 5.6% to North American customers. Much smaller percentages of Turkish exports arrived in Latin America (1.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, with 0.6% going to Oceania led by Australia, Marshall Islands and New Zealand.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 51.9% of products exported from Turkey were bought by importers in: Germany (9% of the global total), United Kingdom (6.3%), Italy (5.4%), Iraq (5.2%), United States (4.7%), France (4.5%), Spain (4.5%), Netherlands (3.2%), Israel (2.5%), Russia (2.3%), Romania (2.2%) and United Arab Emirates (2.1%).
Given Turkey’s population of 83 million people, its total $171.1 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $2,060 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.
Turkey’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Turkish global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Turkey.
- Vehicles: US$26.2 billion (15.3% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $16.5 billion (9.6%)
- Iron, steel: $9.9 billion (5.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $9.1 billion (5.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.7 billion (5.1%)
- Gems, precious metals: $7.3 billion (4.3%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $7.3 billion (4.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $6.5 billion (3.8%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $6.5 billion (3.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $6.3 billion (3.7%)
Turkey’s top 10 exports accounted for roughly three-fifths (60.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 65.8% since 2018 and led by robust international revenues from refined petroleum oils. In second place for improving export sales was plastics including plastic articles which rose by 4%. Turkey’s shipments of machinery including computers also posted a 4% year-over-year gain.
The leading decliner among Turkey’s top 10 export categories was iron and steel thanks to a -13.9% drop.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Turkey’s Most Valuable Export Products further down below.
The following types of Turkish product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Vehicles: US$16.5 billion (Up by 28.6% since 2018)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $8.6 billion (Up by 1.7%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $5.6 billion (Up by 7.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $4.1 billion (Up by 10.5%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.7 billion (Up by 9.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $2.8 billion (Up by 20.6%)
- Textile floor coverings: $2.5 billion (Up by 12%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $2.3 billion (Up by 9.2%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $1.9 billion (Down by -0.2%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $1.7 billion (Down by -6.9%)
Turkey has highly positive net exports in the international trade of cars, trucks and tractors. In turn, these cashflows indicate Turkey’s strong competitive advantages under the knit or crochet clothing product categories.
Overall Turkey incurred a -$29.6 billion deficit on all products for 2019. That amount is a -46.4% reduction from the -$55.1 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Turkey that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Turkey’s goods trail Turkish importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$33.9 billion (Down by -12.2% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$6.3 billion (Down by -20.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$6 billion (Up by 11.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$5.4 billion (Down by -22.3%)
- Machinery including computers: -$5.1 billion (Down by -49%)
- Organic chemicals: -$4.9 billion (Down by -9.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$4.7 billion (Down by -30.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$3.5 billion (Up by 8.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$3.4 billion (Down by -10%)
- Cereals: -$3.1 billion (Up by 63.3%)
Turkey has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category, particularly for processed petroleum oils, coal and petroleum gases.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Turkey’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Turkey to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Turkish Export Companies
Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of leading Turkish companies:
- Koç Group (industrial conglomerate)
- Sabanci Holding (automotive, banking)
- Turkcell (mobile phones)
- Enka (construction services)
- Anadolu Efes (brewery, non-alcoholic drinks)
Global trade intelligence firm Zepol lists the following firms exporting from Turkey:
- Anadolu Dokum San (cast iron/steel articles)
- Cevikler Dis Ticaret (monumental/building stone)
- Evimteks Dis Tic Ve Paz (woven fabrics, facial tissues)
- MCE Cargo (steam condensers, plywood)
- Ulus Metal San Ve Tic (chain sprockets, transmission components, auto parts)
Searchable List of Turkey’s Most Valuable Export Products
In 2019, Turkey’s most valuable exported products were cars, refined petroleum oils, jewelry, trucks and automobile parts or accessories.
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Turkey during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||Turkey's Export Product||2019 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Processed petroleum oils||$3,726,658,000||+62.6%|
|6||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$2,744,911,000||+7.4%|
|7||Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$3,363,334,000||-18.3%|
|8||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$2,798,011,000||-2.6%|
|9||Woven textile floor coverings, carpets||$1,908,491,000||+11%|
|13||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$1,931,887,000||+2.3%|
|15||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$2,395,975,000||-25.3%|
|17||Piston engine parts||$1,621,947,000||-5.5%|
|18||Rubber tires (new)||$1,379,376,000||+9.2%|
|20||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$1,465,894,000||+0.4%|
|23||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$1,213,400,000||+9.3%|
|24||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$1,238,186,000||+0.9%|
|26||Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes||$1,266,626,000||-12.5%|
|27||Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)||$1,079,665,000||+1.7%|
|28||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$1,096,888,000||-0.3%|
|29||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$1,047,813,000||+2.6%|
|30||Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections||$1,116,506,000||-4%|
|31||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$1,002,490,000||+6.9%|
|32||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$956,004,000||+10.5%|
|33||Wheat or meslin flour||$1,006,290,000||+4.5%|
|35||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$1,007,628,000||+1.1%|
|36||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$1,009,116,000||+0.9%|
|37||Monument/building stones, art||$942,059,000||+3.1%|
|38||Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$1,030,313,000||-12.1%|
|42||Calcerous monumental/building stone, marble||$944,193,000||-8.5%|
|43||Other than warp-knit fabrics||$824,533,000||+4.2%|
|44||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$725,780,000||+13.8%|
|45||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$765,887,000||+7.8%|
|46||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$857,224,000||-6.5%|
|47||Electrical converters/power units||$736,488,000||+7.7%|
|48||Medication mixes in dosage||$702,055,000||+12%|
|49||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$889,970,000||-15.6%|
|51||Synthetic yarn woven fabrics||$804,245,000||-8.9%|
|52||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$719,236,000||+0.7%|
|53||Synthetic filament yarn||$673,782,000||+2%|
|54||Grapes (fresh or dried)||$611,294,000||+9.9%|
|55||Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles, cubes||$597,710,000||+11.2%|
|56||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$637,694,000||+1.5%|
|57||Yarn wash/clean/iron machines||$576,136,000||+11%|
|59||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$585,201,000||+7.7%|
|61||Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$702,110,000||-11%|
|62||Vulcanized rubber items||$649,958,000||-5.6%|
|64||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$502,345,000||+20.8%|
|65||Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings||$551,232,000||+9.1%|
|68||Liquid pumps and elevators||$542,885,000||+4.3%|
|70||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$523,702,000||+6.3%|
|71||Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)||$469,534,000||+17.7%|
|72||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$504,426,000||+9.1%|
|73||Base metal mountings, fittings||$523,249,000||+1.7%|
|74||Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$566,364,000||-6.3%|
|76||Whole fish (fresh)||$472,225,000||+8.4%|
|77||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$495,419,000||+2%|
|78||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$490,508,000||+1.6%|
|79||Central heating boilers||$527,769,000||-7.7%|
|81||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$446,308,000||+5%|
|82||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$438,415,000||+5.2%|
|83||Iron/steel central heating radiators||$457,568,000||-0.01%|
|85||Wide knit or crochet fabrics||$469,223,000||-2.9%|
|87||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$441,468,000||+3.1%|
|88||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$470,141,000||-4%|
|90||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$427,660,000||+3.4%|
|92||Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry||$437,416,000||+0.7%|
|93||Vulcanized rubber tubes, pipes||$506,306,000||-13.2%|
|94||Knitted or crocheted women's blouses, shirts||$466,495,000||-6%|
|95||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$393,782,000||+10.1%|
|96||Air or vacuum pumps||$433,560,000||-0.6%|
|97||Miscellaneous plastic items||$415,237,000||+3.3%|
|99||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)||$87,645,000||+380.4%|
|100||Woven fabrics (85%+ cotton)||$448,978,000||-6.9%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$117.1 billion or 68.4% by value for all products exported from Turkey during 2019.
In macroeconomic terms, Turkey’s total exported goods represent 7.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($2.347 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.3% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2018 matches the 7.3% one year earlier, seeming to indicate a relatively stable reliance on products sold on international markets for Turkey’s total economic performance.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Turkey’s unemployment rate was 12.7% in September 2020, down from an average 13.831% for 2019 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Turkey’s capital city is Ankara.
See also Top Turkish Trade Balances, Turkey’s Top Trading Partners and Turkey’s Top 10 Imports
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