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Turkish economic confidence down slightly following quakes

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The central bank said it was closely monitoring supply-demand imbalances after earthquakes

Turkey’s economic confidence index fell 0.3 percent month-on-month in February to 99.1 points, following massive earthquakes that devastated the country’s southern region, data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed on Monday.

The index, which points to an optimistic outlook when above 100 and pessimistic when below, hit a record low in 2020 before recovering as coronavirus measures were eased.

The government introduced a series of measures to ease quake fallout that are expected to cost at least $50 billion. But economists have predicted it will shave some one to two percentage points off economic growth this year.

Trade deficit widens

In addition, the foreign trade deficit widened 38.4 percent year-on-year to $14.24 billion in January, official data showed on Monday, with imports surging 20.7 percent and exports up 10.3 percent.

The Turkish Statistical Institute said imports climbed to $33.61 billion in January, while exports rose to $19.37 billion.

Under an economic programme unveiled in 2021, Turkey aims to shift to a current account surplus through stronger exports and low interest rates, despite soaring inflation and a currency that has tumbled in recent years.