UPDATE WITH COMMENTS FROM FINANCE MINISTER
By Tuba Sahin
ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish economy registered a growth rate of 6.7% in 2020's third quarter despite the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to data the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) released Monday.
The country's gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices stood at 1.4 trillion Turkish liras ($197.4 billion) in July-September, TurkStat said.
This figure was well above market expectations as a panel of 17 economists surveyed by Anadolu Agency on Thursday had estimated the Turkish economy would expand by 5% in the same period.
They also predicted that Turkey's annual GDP in 2020 would grow by 0.3% on average, but the surprising figure will likely move estimations up for the year's end.
The current new economic program in place also expected the Turkish economy to grow 0.3% this year. The economy is projected to expand by 5.8% in 2021 after deferred consumption and investments are put into use and tourism revenues normalize.
GDP targets in the program are $702 billion for 2020 and $735 billion for the next year.
The country's GDP expanded 4.5% in the first quarter of 2020 and narrowed by 9.9% in the second due to the pandemic's effects on the economy.
Compared to the previous quarter, seasonally and calendar adjusted GDP rose by 15.6% in July-September, the TurkStat data showed.
Commenting on the figure, Treasury and Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan said the increase in domestic demand spurred the GDP growth in the third quarter.
"We do not ignore the risks that may occur," Elvan wrote on Twitter.
Turkey aims a sustainable economic growth with a policy framework that prioritizes macroeconomic, financial and price stability, he stressed.
Value added increased the most among financial and insurance activities constituting gross domestic product with 41.1% annually in the third quarter.
The figures rose 6.2% in the agriculture sector, 8% in industry and 6.4% in construction during the same period.
The services sector's value added -- wholesale and retail trade, transport, storage, accommodation and food service activities -- climbed marginally by 0.8% on a yearly basis as it was hit hardest by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Government final consumption expenditure grew 1.1%, while gross fixed capital formation jumped 22.5% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same quarter of the previous year.
Elvan stated that steps to further strengthen the country's production and technology infrastructures will be taken.
The final consumption expenditures of resident households gained by 9.2% in the same period, TurkStat said.