Inflation at 25%, Central Bank interest rates at 24%, Lira down 30% in value since the start of the year. What hope is there for the Turkish economy?
Wages and salaries haven’t kept pace with inflation and the reduction in demand has led to higher unemployment. There is pressure on the central bank to keep interest rates to avoid the lira collapsing. However this makes it expensive for businesses to borrow money and thereby reducing investment and ultimately growth.
No pain no gain – there is no alternative for Turkey other than undertaking painful and unpopular economic reforms. Remember what Reagan said in the 1980’s “If not now, when? If not us, who?” He was referring to the stagflation conditions in the US economy at the time and how spending your way out of a recession, which had been the previous administration’s policy, didn’t work.
In order to the economy back on track things will need to get worse but President Erdogan has the time on his hands as there is neither parliamentary nor presidential elections in the next five years. This longer period should allow him the time to make painful adjustments without the pressure of elections which usually mean more short-term policies for political gain. Beyond stabilising the lira, which helped to ease the dollar-debt burden weighing on the country’s banks and corporate sectors, the 24 per cent interest rate level the central bank imposed also brought about a long-overdue economic adjustment. A cut in interest rates discourage net inflows of investment from foreigners and the resulting depreciation would accelerate the concerns about financial stability and deteriorating business and consumer confidence. Below is a mind map as to why a rise in the exchange rate maybe useful in reducing inflation.