Turkey’s economy tumbles into first recession since 2009 as polls loom

Two consecutive quarter-on-quarter contractions in economic output is widely considered to be the definition of a recession. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 March 2019

Turkey’s economy tumbles into first recession since 2009 as polls loom

  • Economic output contracted by 2.4 percent in the final three months of the year
  • Two consecutive quarter-on-quarter contractions in economic output is widely considered to be the definition of a recession

ANKARA: Turkey’s economy entered its first recession in a decade, official data showed on Monday, just weeks before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government faces local elections where growth and inflation will be key issues for voters.
Economic output contracted by 2.4 percent in the final three months of the year compared to the third quarter on a seasonally and calendar-adjusted basis, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK) said.
That followed a drop in the third quarter as well. Two consecutive quarter-on-quarter contractions in economic output is widely considered to be the definition of a recession.
The economy shrank by 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with the same period in the previous year.
Growth came in at 2.6 percent for 2018 overall, but that was still much lower than the 7.4 percent recorded in 2017, a turbulent period following the 2016 failed coup and terror attacks.
The flagging economy coupled with a currency crisis last year are sensitive issues for Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) before the vote on March 31. The Turkish leader has often boasted of the country’s strong growth during his time in power.
Inflation has also remained high. It struck a 15-year peak in October at 25.24 percent before falling below 20 percent in February, with food prices hit particularly hard.
The last time Turkey entered a recession was in 2009 after the global economic crisis hit foreign and domestic demand.


Saudi PIF seeks investment flexibility with $5 billion-plus loan

Updated 04 December 2020

Saudi PIF seeks investment flexibility with $5 billion-plus loan

  • The loan finances are for use if and when the fund identifies investment opportunities 
  • PIF  is at the heart of the Kingdom’s strategy of economic diversification under its Vision 2030 reform plan

DUBAI: The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is in talks with bankers to raise a loan of between $5 billion (SR18.75 billion) and $7 billion to provide flexibility in its investment strategy.

The PIF has declined to comment on reports of the loan, said to be in the form of a revolving facility from a number of international banks, but sources said it was part of the fund’s regular financing arrangements, which have seen it take out and repay facilities for the past two years.

The loan finances are for use if and when the fund identifies investment opportunities and may not necessarily be used.

The PIF has been opportunistic during the coronavirus pandemic in identifying what it saw as undervalued assets on global stock markets and has been an active trader in securities on international markets.

The fund invested $7 billion in mainly US stocks in the first quarter of the year, when markets were first impacted by pandemic lockdowns, and increased and diversified that in the second quarter. It scaled back its commitments in the third quarter when asset values were near all-time highs. In the summer, it spent $1.5 billion to acquire a stake in the Indian digital business Jio Platforms.

PIF, under governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, is at the heart of the Kingdom’s strategy of economic diversification under its Vision 2030 reform plan, while simultaneously building an international portfolio of assets.

Earlier this year, PIF repaid a $10 billion syndicated loan ahead of schedule after it completed the sale of its stake in SABIC to Saudi Aramco, and in 2018 it raised an $11 billion term-loan facility from international banks.

Previous fundraisings were done in partnership with a group of 10 banks from the US, Europe, and Asia that form part of the fund’s “core banking relationships.”