What matters on Thursday, February 3

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged the nation will keep slashing its benchmark interest rates to shore up the economy ahead of a crucial reelection bid this year, according to Bloomberg. The remarks, which came last night in an interview with state broadcaster TRT, ramp up the odds that Turkey’s monetary authority will reduce its key rate when it convenes on February 23. Erdogan’s comments came less than two weeks after the central bank left the rate unchanged at 9%, injecting uncertainty into the path ahead.

Turkey looks positively on Finland’s application for NATO membership but does not support Sweden’s bid, according to Reuters. “Our position on Finland is positive, but it is not positive on Sweden,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said of their NATO applications in a speech to his AK Party deputies in parliament. “Sweden should not bother to try at this point. We will not say ‘yes’ to their NATO application as long as they allow burning of the Quran,” Erdogan added.

Treasury and Finance Minister advocated that the Common Policies Text, which has been prepared by the six-party opposition roundtable, doesn’t include the roadmap to fight against inflation. Nureddin Nebati called on the economists of the six-party opposition to explain how they will reduce inflation and if they increase the policy rate. Nebati also said the victims of the delayed pension age (EYT) will cost TRY 255bn for the Treasury this year and this amount has been included in the budget. Touching on an economic operation risk to affect the elections, the Treasury and Finance Minister added: “We have no problem in macroeconomic indicators. There is no space to carry out an operation in monetary terms.”

Turkey’s benchmark stock index, which continues to have a downward course, ended yesterday at 4,713.39 points, down 5.29% from the previous close. Borsa Istanbul’s BIST 100 index dropped by 263.16 points from Tuesday’s close of 4,976.55 points, with a daily trading volume of TRY 78.7bn. Panic sales and profit realization dominate the indices, while new investors may have experienced a panic action following the decrease in January, according to analysts. They also said the downward trend may technically continue in case of the close falls below 4,600 points.


The Central Bank will release the weekly monetary and banking statistics (2.30 p.m.).


>> The Istanbul Wage Earners Cost of Living Index (WECLI), which indicates the movement of retail prices in Istanbul, increased by 5.94% in January, compared to the previous month, according to the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO). The Istanbul WECLI reached 79.68% in January, year-over-year. The Wholesale Price Index, which reflects wholesale prices in the city, surged by 5.52% in January, as compared to December. The Wholesale Price Index climbed by 80.45% in January, year-over-year.

>> Total assets of QNB Finansbank have increased by 62% to TRY 601.75bn as of December 31, 2022, on an annual basis. The bank’s net loans surged by 72% to TRY 344.95bn in the same period.

>> The cash and non-cash support of Alternatif Bank increased by 26% to TRY 52.9bn in 2022, compared to the previous year. The bank’s total asset size rose by 18% to TRY 59.8bn in this period.

>> The net profit of Garanti BBVA jumped 330.6% to TRY 58.51bn in 2022, year-over-year. The bank’s asset size amounted to TRY 1.3tr while its support to the economy totaled TRY 974.4bn through cash and non-cash loans in 2022.

>> Borsa Istanbul’s indices ended January with a loss of 9.67%, according to daily EKONOMI.


>> The arms issue

The Russian invasion of Ukraine ignited a new international arms race, according to our Foreign Policy Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli.

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