Turkey’s economic growth was close to zero quarter-on-quarter in the second three months of 2011, central bank governor Erdem Basci said, adding import growth had halted and non-energy imports began falling from April.
The central bank, which is battling to curb Turkey’s record current account deficit and slow an economy many analysts fear is close to overheating, says the measures it introduced are working.
“We anticipate growth close to zero in the second quarter compared with the first,” Basci told a conference at Pamukkale University in the western Turkish city of Denizli.
Turkey’s economy grew an annual 11 per cent in the first quarter, and 1.4 per cent on a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis.
The bank says the rate of growth is slowing and on Thursday held its policy rate at a record low of 6.25 per cent, even signalling that it might loosen policy if debt crises in the euro zone and United States worsened.
“There is nothing to worry about excessively. We are watching the situation carefully. We have made preparations for various scenarios,” Basci said.
A crisis in the euro zone did not look as close after on Thursday’s decisions by European leaders on a rescue package for Greece, he added.
Turning to Turkey’s external shortfalls he said it would be beneficial if the public and private sector did not have open positions.
The current account deficit would start to improve from the fourth quarter, Basci said, adding that import growth had halted and exports would start to make a positive contribution to growth.
The Turkish lira plumbed new lows on Friday due to investors concerns over a widening current account deficit and the central bank’s dovish stance.
The share market also fell, but bonds gained on the prospect of interest rates being held down for the rest of the year.
The lira closed at 1.6810 against the dollar on Friday on the interbank market, weakening from a on Thursday’s close of 1.6690, and though it closed off the day’s low at 1.6960 the Turkish currency lost 3 per cent of its value against the dollar over the week.
So far this year the lira, which has underperformed other emerging currencies, has lost 7.19 per cent against the dollar, and is now trading at levels last seen in March, 2009.
From / Gulf Today