Turkey: how strong is the fiscal picture?

Turkey’s public finances have become more vulnerable to falls in the currency in recent years, although we think the likelihood of sovereign default is very low. Perhaps the bigger risk for the public finances is that the pressure on the central bank to focus on growth is matched by a shift to a looser fiscal stance, causing the debt dynamics to worsen.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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Emerging Europe Economics Weekly

Omicron & tightening cycles, Turkey into the unknown

While a lot is still unknown about the Omicron variant, we don’t think it will prevent central banks from delivering further large interest rate hikes - Poland will be a case in point next week, where we expect a 75bp rate hike. The key exception is Turkey, where the departure of Finance Minister Elvan this week adds to signs that policymakers are not prepared to respond to the recent falls in the lira with an orthodox approach. The currency will remain under pressure and this week’s interventions in the FX market suggest policymakers’ tolerance of a weak lira is being tested. These interventions cannot be sustained and soft capital control may be the next port of call.

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Turkey & the macro fallout from past “sudden stops”

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3 December 2021

Emerging Europe Data Response

Turkey Consumer Prices (Nov.)

The rise in Turkey’s headline inflation rate to 21.3% y/y in November will almost certainly be followed by further chunky increases over the coming months that take it to 25-30% as the effects of the recent currency crises continue to filter through. With no sign that President Erdogan will permit an orthodox policy response in the form of large interest rate hikes, the lira will struggle to recoup its losses and inflation will remain at these very high levels throughout much of the next six-to-nine months.

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Latin America Data Response

Brazil IPCA-15 (Nov. 2021)

The Brazilian inflation reading of 10.7% y/y in mid-November (the same as the October full month figure) provides the first sign that inflation is now stabilising. But with the headline rate still far above target and fiscal risks persisting, it looks more likely than not that Copom will raise the Selic rate in a larger 175bp step (to 9.50%) when it meets next month.

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EM tightening cycles have further to run

Inflation in the emerging world has generally surprised to the upside in recent months. But while inflation in most parts of Asia remains at levels which central banks are comfortable with, it has risen well above target in much of Emerging Europe and Latin America. Soaring energy (and in some countries food) prices explain a big chunk of the rise in headline rates, although the re-opening of economies and goods shortages have caused core price pressures to intensify too. This has prompted central banks to step on the brakes and raise interest rates, with policymakers in Brazil, Chile and Czechia in particular stepping up the pace of tightening over the past few weeks. Looking ahead, with inflation across both Latin America and Emerging Europe set to remain above central bank targets for a while yet, further rate hikes lie in store. The key exception is Turkey where, under pressure from President Erdogan, the central bank has signalled that it will ease policy again at its next meeting.

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Higher rates quickly adding to Brazil’s fiscal challenge

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