June 9, 2020 / 2:09 PM / a month ago

Turkish industrial production plunged 17% in April as pandemic took hold: Reuters poll

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s industrial production is expected to have contracted 17% annually in April due to a severe economic downturn brought on by measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Turkey identified its first case of the coronavirus in the country on March 11, and soon after imposed strict measures to slow the spread. Many factories temporarily halted operations.

Industrial production contracted 2% in March, compared to expectations of 1.8% expansion in a Reuters poll.

The median estimate in a Reuters poll of seven institutions showed a year-on-year contraction of 17% of the calendar-adjusted industrial production index in April.

Forecasts ranged between contractions of 9.5% and 28%.

Turkey’s economy expanded by 4.5% in the first quarter of 2020, remaining below expectations. It had contracted annually in the three quarters to the middle of 2019, with growth surging in the final quarter of the year.

Industrial production, viewed as a pre-cursor to growth figures, had expanded for six consecutive months before March after contracting annually for 12 straight months.

The government had forecast 5% growth in 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak. Officials say Turkey could still end the year with positive growth, with the second quarter expected to be hit the most by the pandemic.

Analysts expect the impact of the coronavirus outbreak to tip the economy into its second recession in as many years.

The Turkish Statistical Institute will announce industrial production figures for April on June 12 at 0700 GMT.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Daren Butler

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