Today, Turkmenistan demonstrates stable growth in the main economic areas. Amid current situations in the world, including the pandemic, the corresponding factor can be assessed as phenomenal. In 2021, the foreign trade in Turkmenistan has significantly improved compared to the previous year. Thus, the foreign trade turnover exceeded 15.1 billion dollars. It is showing an increase of 20,5%.
In an interview to CentralAsia.news, an observer of the Turkmen economy Valentin Trapeznikov outlined the key indicators of the state in the economy following the results of the past year.
Export potential of industries
Exports amounted to more than 8.86 billion dollars, showing an increase of 33,9%, while the value of imports amounted to about 6.25 billion dollars and it grew only by 5,5%.
The positive foreign trade balance amounted to more than 2.61 billion dollars compared to 691.5 million dollars in 2020.
Undoubtedly the growth of the export potential of most industries is a positive factor.
In particular, against the backdrop of record natural gas production, the volume of its exports increased significantly. The physical volume reached almost 45.9 billion cubic meters, which is 34,8% more than the previous year, while the value increased by 32,6%.
The export value of crude oil increased significantly (by 32,6%), petroleum products — by 28,5%, petroleum coke — by 94,7%, gasoline of natural gas — by more than 2.5 times.
The volume of exports without oil and gas products increased by 41,0%. At the same time, the physical volumes of electricity exports increased by 36,4%, and the cost by 37,3%. In addition, the cost volume of export supplies of sulfur increased by 2.3 times, glass and glass products — by 61,8%, plastic pipes, hoses and fittings — by 60,5%,
The export of textile products increased significantly. Thus, the growth in exports of textile materials as a whole amounted to 38,4%, cotton yarn — 42,1%, fabrics — 34,5%, clothing — 34,8%, hosiery — 2 times, wool — 77,1% and leather raw materials — 21,0%.
In addition, exports of licorice root extract increased by 33,5% and flour confectionery products increased by 57,7%.
The effectiveness of the import substitution
The country showed growth in exports of agricultural products.
Impressive figures were achieved in the export of vegetables, which in 2021 amounted to 81.0 thousand tons against 40.3 thousand tons in 2020. The growth of the physical and cost volume of exports increased by more than 2 times.
At the same time, the physical volume of tomato exports increased from 37.8 thousand tons to 70.8 thousand tons (by 87,8%), and the value — from 42 to 74.4 million dollars (77.1%).
Exports to Russia increased by 85,9%, Georgia — by 73,5%, Turkey — by 44,8%, and China — by 24,1%.
Multidirectional trends were observed in the structure of imports. Import of technological equipment and mechanical devices has increased by 12,6%.
At the same time, imports of raw materials and materials decreased by 5,5%. In this case, import substitution programs worked for a number of positions. So, for example, against the background of the development of the national metallurgical industry, foreign purchases of ferrous metals and products from them decreased by 28,7%.
The volume of imports of consumer goods as a whole increased by 2,0%. At the same time, imports of non-food products decreased by 0,4%.
In terms of food products, the import of garlic, tea, flour confectionery, and vegetable and fruit processing products increased.
However, thanks to import-substitution programs, external purchases of beef decreased by 50,2%, poultry meat — by 26,2%, sausages — by 27,4%, canned meat — by 42,3%, baby food — by 31,2%, dairy products — by 21,2%, condensed milk by 43,3%, cheeses and cottage cheese — by 15,9%, rice — by 37,2%.
The development of greenhouse farms and reforms in the agro-industrial complex made it possible to almost completely eliminate external purchases of tomatoes (a decrease of 93%) and cucumbers (by 73%).
Thus, the results of the past year demonstrated a significant increase in the export potential and the effectiveness of the implementation of import-substitution programs in Turkmenistan.