The 1996 current account deficit amounted to $4,393 million, up from $2,339 million a year previously, according to the central bank. However, this figure is lower than a previously expected $6,800 million.

Imports in 1996 increased by 19.2 per cent to $41,935 million and exports by 6.8 per cent to $23,461 million, according to the central bank. The trade deficit increased by 39.8 per cent over the period to $18,474 million.

The EU appears to have gained most from the first year of the Customs Union, with Turkey importing 32.5 per cent more from the EU in 1996 than a year previously, while increasing exports to the EU by only 3.7 per cent.

The central bank also gave figures for the current account including grey market ‘suitcase trade’ with East European and former Soviet countries. For example, the 1996 current account deficit was $1,450 million including the suitcase trade, the Central Bank claims.