Turkey’s unemployment rate falls to 12.8% in April-June

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed to its highest on record at 14 percent. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2019

Turkey’s unemployment rate falls to 12.8% in April-June

  • Unemployment surged to a decade high of 14.7 percent in the December-February period as economic activity slowed

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s unemployment rate declined to 12.8 percent in the April-June period, data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed on Thursday, but the seasonally adjusted rate climbed to its highest on record.
Unemployment surged to a decade high of 14.7 percent in the December-February period as economic activity slowed after a currency crisis saw the lira lose nearly 30 percent last year. As a result of the crisis, the economy contracted annually in the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of this year.
Year-on-year, unemployment rose 3.1 percentage points to 12.8 percent in the April-June period, the data showed. In the March-May period it stood at 13 percent.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 14 percent in the same period, its highest level in the statistical institute’s data going back to 2005.
The non-agricultural unemployment rate was unchanged from a month earlier at 15 percent, the data showed.
The unemployment rate had surged to 14.7 percent in the December-February period, its highest level in a decade.


Property investors turn to SE Asia amid Hong Kong unrest

Updated 16 min 58 sec ago

Property investors turn to SE Asia amid Hong Kong unrest

  • The summer of rage in Hong Kong has been fueled by years of simmering anger toward Beijing

KUALA LUMPUR: From luxury Singapore apartments to Malaysian seafront condos, Hong Kong investors are shifting cash into Southeast Asian property, demoralized by increasingly violent protests as well as the China-US trade war.

Millions have taken to the streets during four months of pro-democracy demonstrations in the southern Chinese city, hammering tourism while also forcing businesses to lay off staff — and the property sector is feeling the pain.

Property stocks in one of the world’s most expensive housing markets have plummeted since June, with developers being forced to offer discounts on new projects and cutting office rents.

Hong Kong businessman Peter Ng bought a condominium on the Malaysian island of Penang — which has a substantial ethnic Chinese population and is popular among Hong Kongers — after the protests erupted.

“The instability was a catalyst for me,” the 48-year-old stock market and property investor told AFP, adding he was worried about long-term damage to the Hong Kong economy if the unrest persists. “Investors will always look at things like that, political stability.”

And Derek Lee, a Hong Kong businessman who owns a Penang apartment, said he knew others in the semi-autonomous city who were considering investing in Southeast Asian property because of the unrest.

“People are thinking about how to quicken their ideas, how to make a more stable life,” the 55-year-old told AFP.

Adding to the allure of Malaysia is its relative affordability and prices much lower than Hong Kong.

The Malaysia site of Southeast Asian real estate platform Property Guru has seen a 35 percent increase in visits from Hong Kong, according to its CEO Hari Krishnan. 

While Hong Kong’s protests are primarily pushing for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability, the summer of rage has been fueled by years of simmering anger toward Beijing and the local government over falling living standards and the high costs of living.

Hong Kong’s property market is one of least affordable in the world with sky-high prices fueled, in part, by wealthy mainlanders snapping up investments in a city which has failed for years to build enough flats to meet demand.

But now mainland Chinese, who traditionally viewed property in Hong Kong as a safe investment, are opting for rival financial hub Singapore as a result of the protests and the US-China trade war, according to observers.

There has been a jump this year in sales of luxury apartments in the city-state — which like Hong Kong is known for pricey property — driven partially by mainland Chinese buyers, according to the consultancy OrangeTee & Tie.

“The protests in Hong Kong have made some of the (mainland Chinese) based there ... (more concerned) about investing in Hong Kong real estate, so they carry that investment to Singapore,” said Alan Cheong, executive director of the research and consultancy team at Savills.

As well as hitting China’s economy, trade tensions may have discouraged some Chinese from investing in the West and pushed them toward Singapore, with its mostly ethnic Chinese population.

“I think they don’t want to go to the West,” said Cheong.

Singapore is “the closest country culturally to China other than Hong Kong, and I think they feel more comfortable with that.”

There are further signs the stable, tightly ruled city is benefiting from the Hong Kong turmoil — Goldman Sachs last week estimated as much as $4 billion flowed out of Hong Kong to Singapore this summer.

And analysts warned there was little hope of Hong Kong’s property market recovering soon.