Poor forward planning and political manipulation of energy prices look likely to leave Turkey facing gas shortages this winter, even before the prospect of regional gas cuts due to the on-going hostilities in Ukraine.
Turkey last week experienced an unexplained drop in pressure in its western import line, through which it receives 14bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Russia, or about 30 per cent of Turkish demand. That sparked fears of further cuts during the peak mid winter demand period should a working ceasefire not be concluded.
But Turkey’s gas woes are not confined to one import line through Ukraine. Continue reading »
One of the biggest questions facing Turkey is not so much who is going to win Sunday’s inaugural presidential election – prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heavily favoured – but what kind of government the country will have afterwards.
If Erdogan does head to the presidential palace later this month, so vacating the premiership, a new government will have to take office-even though he has made clear his ambition to keep running the country. Continue reading »
Here’s an example of what may pass for high finance Turkish style: talk down an asset and then try and nab it for yourself.
This may not be a path that is permitted for non-governmental actors, but then sometimes it seems that all roads lead back to the country’s government, notably its powerful prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last week, he was quoted as lashing out at an Islamic bank in Turkey named Bank Asya. Continue reading »
Turks are divided over the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a new poll conducted by the US think tank Pew Research Center ahead of the country’s first presidential elections.
The survey, carried out in April and May, found a majority of 51 per cent dissatisfied with the direction of the country with only 44 per cent satisfied and an even split on the question of whether Erdogan’s influence has been good or bad with 48 per cent of Turk’s taking either side. Continue reading »
Investors could be forgiven for being confused by the signals coming out of Turkey’s central bank on Thursday.
Governor Erdem Başçi (pictured) suggested that rate cuts were likely to continue. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, he said the markets were pricing in a cut in the key policy rate of about 50 basis points and that any further interest rate cuts would be “measured”. Continue reading »
Turkey should adopt a “sufficiently restrictive” monetary policy to dampen inflation and balance growth or remain at the mercy of uncertain capital flows, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommended in a report on Thursday.
The report tells a familiar story: Turkey’s dramatic growth in the 2000s was mainly driven by domestic demand and has led to a large current account deficit and external debt. This leaves the economy vulnerable to turmoil in global financial markets as was seen in 2013 and earlier this year.
But the tightening is unlikely to come soon. Last month Turkey’s central bank opted to cut rates by 75 basis points to 8.75 despite inflation being almost twice the bank’s 5 per cent target.
Continue reading »
What is going on with Turkey’s central bank? Why, more specifically, has it just cut its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points to 8.75 per cent when the latest figures showed inflation just shy of 10 per cent? And why did it do that in the wake of a previous 50 basis point cut in May?
According to the bank’s version of events, inflation is no longer so much of a concern, because of Turkey’s mixture of increased exports, slower domestic demand and a stabilised currency. Continue reading »
Turkey and Azerbaijan have further cemented their close relations with the signing of a $3.29bn credit agreement for the Turkish subsidiary of Azeri state oil company Socar, for the construction of a 10bn tonnes a year oil refinery to be constructed at Aliaga on Turkey’s Aegean coast.
The credit package, formally agreed on Friday, is both the largest single project finance agreement in Turkish history and, at 18 years, the deal with the longest maturity to date. Continue reading »
Central and Eastern European local currency bonds lifted following a widely-anticipated move by the European Central Bank to cut key interest rates in a bid to anchor the eurozone’s tentative economic recovery.
The confirmation of cheaper money across the continent sent investors searching for riskier assets, further pushing down yields on Turkish, Hungarian and Polish bonds which have rallied over the last month. Continue reading »
Not everything in life is always completely and irredeemably bad, even if you happen to be running an emerging economy. In the case of currency devaluations handed to the big emerging markets over the past year, however, the silver lining has not made up for the cloud.
It was a year ago this week that the “taper tantrum” shook emerging markets, after comments from then Fed chairman Ben Bernanke raised fears of the US central bank tightening monetary policy. Exchange rates dropped sharply in the fragile fraternity of emerging markets with flexible currencies – Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. However, bad though the turbulence was – and the panic returned for a short while earlier this year – the currency movements should at least have had the benefit of handing those economies’ exports a competitive advantage through a lower exchange rate.
Continue reading »
Hopes for an early release of disputed oil pumped from Kurdistan – but held in Turkey – are rising, a person familiar with the issue said. A resolution to a political impasse between the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and Iraq could free up for sale millions of barrels of oil that have been stockpiled on the Eastern Mediterranean coast since the end of last year.
Oil has been flowing from Kurdistan – sometimes described as ‘the last great oil frontier’ with a potential 50bn barrels in reserves – through a newly-constructed pipeline to the Turkish export terminal of Ceyhan for more than five months. Continue reading »
By Anthony Skinner of Maplecroft
Even before the disaster of Tuesday’s explosion at a mine in western Turkey, questions were being raised about the future of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is yet another example of the volatility that seems to be perpetual in the country.
In recent months, the lira has gone from being one of the worst performing currencies in the world to one of the best. Many investors were reassured by the victory at March’s municipal elections of Erdogan’s centre-right Justice and Development Party (AKP), in the midst of a battle for influence and power with the moderate Islamist Gulen movement. Continue reading »
Turkey has a penchant for plastic. Over the past decade, consumers have gorged themselves on credit cards marketed aggressively by banks. The country now has more than 57m credit cards, up from fewer than 16m in 2002, in a population of 76m people. That expansion helped push the ratio of household debt to disposable income from 4.3 per cent in 2002 to 55 per cent by the end of last year.
Such indebtedness is causing misery: more than 1m people were unable to pay off personal loans or credit cards last year, nearly half as many again as in 2012. Continue reading »
By David O’Byrne of bne in Istanbul
Turkish football is no stranger to empty stadia, with the football authorities regularly ordering matches to be played behind closed doors as punishment for the misbehaviour of fans and players alike. But the April 20 derby match between fierce Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce and Besiktas was different. Continue reading »
Turkish banks are likely to suffer over the next few years as the combination of an economic slowdown and higher interest rates will force more borrowers to the wall. That’s the conclusion of two reports issued this week by rating agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s.
Moody’s reckons it’s the banks who’ve lent to small and medium businesses who are the most exposed, while S&P sees consumer debt as the problem. Continue reading »