Turkey's exports are expected to rise to $170bn in 2018, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said."We reached the highest monthly exports in our history in March ... We will hopefully exceed $170bn [of exports] by the end of the year." Zeybekci said on Monday.

Turkey's exports in March reached a record of $15.1B, he said during a televised interview on private broadcaster CNN Turk earlier on Sunday.

The Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM) also said in a statement that the country's exports rose 11.5 percent year-on-year in March to exceed $15bn for the first time. He said exports in the last 12 months had risen 10.5 percent to around $160bn and the forecast for 2018 is very hopefull.


Trade deficit widened

Data from Turkey's official statistics institute on Friday showed exports stood at $13.18bn in February. They also showed Turkey's trade deficit had widened 54.2 percent year-on-year to $5.76bn.

TIM President Mehmet Buyukeksi said the assembly was aiming for exports to exceed $170bn at the end of the year.

Zeybekci also said he expected tourism revenues to reach $51-52bn in 2018 from around $26bn in 2017.

Tourism, a major source of funding to plug Turkey's persistent current account deficit, is recovering from a sharp downturn caused by bomb attacks, diplomatic disputes, and a failed coup.

Foreign arrivals surged over 27 percent in 2017 to 32.4 million, largely boosted by Russian tourists after Turkey patched up a rift with Moscow, concerns over security eased and the sector offered discounts to attract customers.

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