Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Puzzles on the latest current account figures

In the latest (February) current account release, net errors & omissions continues to dominate and puzzle. However, we now have yet another riddle: The huge gold exports, which first came to notice when the February trade statistics were released at the end of March.

Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review reported on this before the official February trade figures were released, based on a precious metals research outfit GFMS report. They revisited the issue right after the current account figures were released. As the two articles state, there are two competing explanations: One, people are selling gold to take advantage of higher prices. Two, the crisis is forcing people too depart with their gold.

Although I do not have hard core evidence to back it up, I am more inclined towards the second explanation, as February was not the only time when gold prices were high in the past couple of years. I plan a visit to the covered bazaar in a couple if weeks, when I will have some chance to talk to jewelers for what you'd call a "nabiz yoklamasi" (fieldwork)...

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