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Turkey’s external debt drops $25 billion at a stroke

The jury is still out on Turkey’s downward revision of short-term external debt, but similar revisions that improved GDP figures in the past have cast doubt on the credibility of Ankara’s economic data.
People come out from a metro station at Laleli in Istanbul, on March 22, 2021
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Turkey’s central bank has revised some of its data compilation methods and definitions, as a result of which the country’s short-term external debt — foreign liabilities with a maturity of up to 12 months — dropped to $164 billion from $189 billion over a month. 

The bank justified the revision on the grounds of inconsistencies identified in trade credits data, saying that the revised statistics, released Aug. 19, were the outcome of efforts to improve data quality and compliance with international standards. The new methodology, which relies on direct reporting at company level rather than macro data of foreign trade and bank reporting, “affected export receivables upwards and import payables downwards,” according to a research note by central bank experts.

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