Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Crude Oil and Water: How Climate Change is Threatening our Two Most Precious Commodities - Richard_Mills
2.The Potential $54 Trillion Cost Of The Fed's Planned Interest Rate Increases - Dan_Amerman
3.Best Cash ISA Savings for Rising UK Interest Rates and High Inflation - March 2018 - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Fed Interest Hikes, US Dollar, and Gold - Zeal_LLC
5.What Happens Next after February’s Stock Market Selloff - Troy_Bombardia
6.The 'Beast from the East' UK Extreme Snow Weather - Sheffield Day 2 - N_Walayat
7.Currencies Will Be ‘Flushed Down the Toilet’ Triggering a ‘Mad Rush into Gold’ - MoneyMetals
8.Significant Decline In Stocks On The Cards! -Enda_Glynn
9.Land Rover Discovery Sport Extreme Driving "Beast from the East" Snow Weather Test - N_Walayat
10.SILVER Large Specualtors Net Short Position 15 Year Anniversary - Clive_Maund
Last 7 days
SPX Wedge Breaks and Double Gaps: Capatulation but GOLD is Coiling for Breakout - 24th Mar 18
The Fed’s Interest Rate Hikes Aren’t Bearish for the Stock Market - 24th Mar 18
Will Gold Price Breakout? 3 Things to Watch… - 24th Mar 18
Gold Junior Mining Stocks GDXJ Fundamentals - 23rd Mar 18
Global Trade War Fears See Precious Metals Gain And Stocks Fall - 23rd Mar 18
Stocks Recovering from a "deep dive" Overnight - 23rd Mar 18
Blaming the Fed for Weaker Greenback US Dollar - 23rd Mar 18
Watch This Group Signal Stock Market Trend Changes - 22nd Mar 18
Stocks are Gapping Beneath the Trendline Support - 22nd Mar 18
Fed Action Casts Shadow on Bullish Case for Stocks - 22nd Mar 18
A Strong Economy and Weak Stock Market is Bullish for Stocks - 22nd Mar 18
Fed Raises US Interest Rates 25bp – Where Are We In The Stock Market Cycle? - 22nd Mar 18
Why Spotify Will Likely Surge During Its IPO - 22nd Mar 18
SY Police Arrest Woman for Blowing Trumpet at Sheffield Tree Felling Protest - 22nd Mar 18
Facebook: The Anti-Social Network Covert Data Gathering - 21st Mar 18
Additional Signs for Gold and Silver Amid Increasing FOMC Tension - 21st Mar 18
Credit Concerns In U.S. Growing As LIBOR OIS Surges to 2009 High - 21st Mar 18
Stock Markets Are Flat-to-lower Before the FOMC - 21st Mar 18
Will Powell’s Actions Pop Stock Market Perfection - 21st Mar 18
Economic Moral Hazards of the International Criminal Court - and Philippines Withdrawal - 21st Mar 18
Larry Kudlow vs. Vladimir Putin on Gold - 21st Mar 18
Trump Builds Economy and War Machine - 21st Mar 18
This Stock Market "Illusion" Can Destroy Once-Vibrant Portfolios - 21st Mar 18
Gold Short-term Pull Back in Progress - 20th Mar 18
Stocks Appear to be Under Pressure - 20th Mar 18
Time To Eliminate Your Wall Street Tax? - 20th Mar 18
The Beast from the East Snow, UK Roads Driving Car Accidents - 20th Mar 18
Can Bitcoin Price Rally Continue After Paypal Fake FUD Attack? - 19th Mar 18
2018 Reversal Dates for Gold, Silver and Gold Stocks - 19th Mar 18
This Tech Breakthrough Could Save The Electric Car Market - 19th Mar 18
Stocks Set to Open Lower, Should You Buy? - 19th Mar 18
The Wealth Machine That Rising Interest Rates Create Conflict With The National Debt - 19th Mar 18
Affiliate Marketing Tips and Network Recommendations - 19th Mar 18
Do Stocks Bull Market Tops Need Breadth Divergences? - 19th Mar 18
Doritos Instant £500 Win! Why Super Market Shelves are Empty - 19th Mar 18
Bonds, Inflation & the Market Amigos - 19th Mar 18
US Housing Real Estate Market and Banking Pressures Are Building - 19th Mar 18
Stock Market Bulls Last Stand? - 18th Mar 18
Putin Flip-Flops Like A Drunken Whore On Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Legalization - 18th Mar 18
How to Legally Manipulate Interest Rates - 18th Mar 18
Return of Stock Market Volatility Amidst Political Chaos and Uncertain Economy - 18th Mar 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Urgent Stock Market Message

Turkey Faces An Economic Dilemma That Will Have Global Implications

Politics / Turkey Nov 09, 2017 - 03:45 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin


BY GEORGE FRIEDMAN AND XANDER SNYDER : A country’s decision to borrow money is not always strictly economic. Take Turkey, whose ratio of gross external debt (all public and private sector debt) to GDP has jumped from 39% in 2012 to 52% today.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been pushing to increase available credit to spur economic activity. This is a political goal, though one motivated by economic objectives.

But Erdogan found that there was not enough domestic capital available to meet Turkey’s lending needs.

Borrow Domestically or from Abroad?

When a country chooses to borrow, it has two sets of choices.

First, should it borrow domestically or from abroad? Second, should its debt be denominated in domestic or foreign currency? Each option has its own implications, but it is particularly constraining when a country borrows from abroad in a foreign currency.

When debt is borrowed in another country’s currency, the borrowing country no longer has the option to depreciate its own currency through monetary policy in order to decrease the relative value of its debt.

The other risk involved in foreign currency borrowing is that the borrower’s currency will decline in value and increase the cost of debt service.

For example, if a country borrowed $100 million at 10% in US dollar-denominated debt, it would owe $10 million per year.

If the exchange rate between the borrower’s currency and the dollar is 2 to 1, then that $10 million is equal to $20 million of its own currency per year.

But if its currency depreciated and the exchange rate to the dollar became 4 to 1, it would still owe $10 million, but in terms of its own currency, that figure would be $40 million in debt service per year.

Turkey’s Dilemma

The pitfalls of borrowing in foreign currency are clear. But for Turkey, domestic borrowing is not a sufficient option.

Banks lend money that is entrusted to them in the form of deposits. The quantity of deposits is determined by a society’s proclivity to save. If deposits are lacking, then the bank will have only so much domestic capital to lend.

Herein lies Turkey’s dilemma: The government wants to boost economic growth by extending greater credit to encourage investment, but there isn’t enough domestic capital in the banks to meet these goals.

Turkey’s solution to this capital shortfall has been external borrowing, though with some restrictions.

Households are not allowed to take out consumer debt that is denominated in foreign currency. Instead, it is mostly financial institutions that borrow in foreign currency—mainly US dollars and euros. And once the capital flows into Turkey, banks extend credit domestically in Turkish lira.

With this maneuver, Turkey accepts greater long-term financial risk for short-term economic growth. More credit is available for projects now. But with every borrowed dollar or euro, Turkey faces a greater financial burden should the lira’s value fall relative to the dollar or euro.

Erdogan, who overcame a coup attempt just last year, cannot afford the risk to his presidency that a flailing economy would create. Maintaining positive economic momentum is critical to ensuring the continued support of his base.

Global Implications

The need to maintain a strong lira while keeping credit freely available has opened somewhat of a rift between Erdogan and Turkey’s central bank.

The bank sees the abundance of credit and growing inflation as a threat to the lira’s strength—and thus Turkey’s ability to service its foreign debt. So it wants to increase interest rates.

But higher rates mean less credit, and Erdogan needs to keep the debt tap open to prevent an erosion of his control over the country.

Turkey’s problems aren’t just its own. Turkey has the 17th-largest economy in the world. If it were to falter, the implications for its lenders would be severe. But its finances also affect regional security (I wrote about the balance of power in the Middle East and Turkey’s role in the region in my free exclusive e-book, The World Explained in Maps, which you can download here).

If Turkey is financially stable and politically united, it can turn its gaze outward and try to exert greater control over its near abroad.

But if Turkey’s financial system is compromised in a run on foreign exchange reserves, then its economy will be threatened. In turn, Turkey could lose its ability to maintain its ever-growing military deployment in Syria.

Without a Turkish presence in western Syria, Iran, which has been Turkey’s rival since the days of the Ottoman Empire, would have a freer hand to influence areas farther west in Syria—areas that Turkey would prefer it to stay out of.

Turkey’s approach entails greater, but not unmanageable, risk. Should it fail, such as in the event of a rapid fall in the value of the lira, Turkey’s financial system—and thus its immediate ability to project power—would be weakened.

Grab George Friedman's Exclusive eBook, The World Explained in Maps

The World Explained in Maps reveals the panorama of geopolitical landscapes influencing today's governments and global financial systems. Don't miss this chance to prepare for the year ahead with the straight facts about every major country’s and region's current geopolitical climate. You won't find political rhetoric or media hype here.

The World Explained in Maps is an essential guide for every investor as 2017 takes shape. Get your copy now—free!

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2018 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules