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Turkey Beats Growth Forecasts in 2017

Turkey’s exports reached a record $15.1 billion in March.Turkey’s exports reached a record $15.1 billion in March.

Turkey posted surprisingly strong economic growth last year, official statistics show, confirming the country’s status as one of the world’s fasted growing economies.

Gross domestic product growth came in at 7.4% in 2017 from the previous year, but even the strong figure did little to prop up the Turkish lira which has suffered from political concerns as well as worrying inflation and current account figures in recent months, AFP reported.

Thursday’s growth figure came in above the market consensus of 7.25%, but fell just short of a forecast by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said in December he expected the economy to grow by 7.5% in 2017.

Growth was 3.2% in 2016 when a series of terror attacks and a July coup bid aimed at unseating Erdogan negatively affected the economy which only returned to strength last year. In the fourth quarter alone the economy grew by 7.3% year-on-year, after a revised 11.3% increase in the third quarter.

Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute showed that growth was driven by the industrial, services and construction sectors.

Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci welcomed the “spectacular achievement” in a statement, saying that it meant Turkey now ranked first among the G20 economies.

One of Erdogan’s senior advisers Hatice Karahan said on Twitter that “sound government policies supported this success along with an improvement in confidence,” adding the focus would now be on reforms.

Turkey’s growth figure was higher than China’s of 6.9% for 2017. Yet, the Turkish lira has lost over 5% of its value against the dollar since January. In late morning Thursday, the currency was steady against the greenback on the day, at 4.00.

Inflation last month was at 10.26%, which is double the Turkish central bank’s target.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s exports reached a record $15.1 billion in March, Zeybekci said on Sunday during a televised interview on private broadcaster CNNTurk. “We reached the highest number in our history in exports, $15.1 billion,” he said.

The Turkish Exporters’ Assembly also said in a statement on Sunday that the country’s exports rose 11.5% year-on-year in March to exceed $15 billion for the first time.

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