Saudi imports from Turkey hit fresh record low amid informal boycott

Saudi dairy products are displayed at a supermarket, after Saudi Arabia's retail stores urged customers to boycott Turkish products, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 18, 2020. Picture taken October 18, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
  • Turkish imports hit record low
  • Down 98% yr/yr, 72% mth/mth

DUBAI, March 25 (Reuters) - The value of Saudi Arabian imports from Turkey, already at record lows amid an informal boycott, fell further in January, official data showed on Thursday.

Saudi businessmen and retailers last year called for a ban on Turkish imports over political tensions between the two regional rivals.

Imports from Turkey fell to 14.1 million riyals ($3.76 million) from 50.6 million in December, and from 622 million riyals in January 2020, data from Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Statistics showed.

December was already the lowest figure since Saudi Arabia started publishing monthly trade data in 2016.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads since the 2011 uprisings across the Arab world when Riyadh accused Ankara of supporting Islamist political groups.

Tensions escalated in 2018 over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

Turkey dropped to 76th in imports from 13th in January last year, the data showed.

In November, Saudi Arabia formally suspended imports of meat, eggs and other products from Turkey, the Turkish exporters' union said.

The Saudi government has said the authorities have not placed any restrictions on Turkish goods.

Saudi Arabia's overall value of imports in January increased by 20.7% year on year to 47.9 billion riyals, the data showed.

Imports from China ranked first at 9.6 billion riyals in January, followed by the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

($1 = 3.7495 riyals)

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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