ISTANBUL (Reuters) -Turkey is expected to record a current account deficit of $8.5 billion in February on back of high gold and energy imports, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, while the deficit was seen at $45 billion in 2023.

The median estimate of 10 economists in the poll for the current account deficit in February was $8.5 billion, with forecasts ranging from $5.78 billion to $9 billion.

Turkey’s trade deficit, a major component of the current account, widened 51.4% in February to $12.08 billion, data showed, mainly due to the sharp rise in gold imports and surging cost of energy imports.

Excluding energy and gold, the trade deficit stood at $2.46 billion, according to data from the statistics institute.

The median forecast of seven economists for the current account deficit in 2023 was $45 billion, with estimates ranging between $35 billion and $63 billion.

Ankara expects a deficit of $22 billion this year, according to official forecasts announced in September, more than halving from last year’s $48.8 billion, which was again largely driven by energy and gold.

Under President Tayyip Erdogan’s new plan, authorities are working to turn Turkey’s chronic current account deficit to a surplus, which the central bank says will help establish price stability.

Economists are monitoring the impact of the massive earthquakes that hit the country’s southeast as well as the course of energy and gold imports. The earthquakes led to a $1.5 billion drop in exports in February, trade ministry data showed.

Turkey’s central bank is scheduled to announce February current account data at 0700 GMT on April 10.

(Polling by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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