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Country Forecast Turkey March 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Turkey March 2018 Updater

  • March 2018
  • ID: 5365343
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • Turkey is due to hold municipal elections in March 2019 and parliamentary and presidential elections in November that year. However, the parliamentary and presidential elections could be held earlier than scheduled, either with the municipal elections or even in 2018, if the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) believe they have sufficient support to win, or if economic headwinds pose a risk to their electoral dominance.
  • After the presidential and parliamentary elections an executive presidency will replace the current parliamentary system of government. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects Mr Erdogan and the AKP to win the elections and remain in power until 2024, and probably beyond. The new system provides few checks on the president's powers, moving Turkey closer to one-man rule. Since the failed coup in 2016 Mr Erdogan's domestic political goal, notably to become president with executive powers, has heavily conditioned foreign policy. This has resulted in a deterioration in Turkey's relations with its Western allies. We expect a complete rupture to be avoided, but tensions will remain high.
  • The AKP has enjoyed 15 years of single-party rule, and for most of that period political and government effectiveness have improved. However, since 2013 economic policymaking institutions have become increasingly politicised. We expect annual budget deficits to widen moderately, to 2.4% of GDP on average in 2018-19, before narrowing gradually after the elections to 1.6% of GDP in 2022. The risk of a larger deterioration in the public finances cannot be ruled out.
  • We forecast a slowdown in real GDP growth from an estimated 7% in 2017 to a still robust 4.1% per year on average in our forecast period (2018-22), reflecting higher taxes and the withdrawal of stimulus measures. Our growth forecast assumes that domestic political conditions will stabilise and foreign investor confidence in Turkey will hold up, maintaining foreign capital inflows.
  • After a fall in the nominal value of the Turkish lira of about 17% against the US dollar in 2017, we expect the pace of depreciation to slow, keeping the currency broadly stable in real terms. Constrained in its ability to raise interest rates, we expect the Central Bank of Turkey to have to resort to unorthodox and less effective tools to respond to currency weakness and high inflation.
  • We expect the current-account deficit to remain broadly unchanged in 2018 at 5.7% of GDP before narrowing to a still large annual average of 5.2% of GDP in 2019-22. This will make it difficult for Turkey to meet its external financing needs if global liquidity is severely constrained and investor confidence deteriorates.

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