Slower growth and weakening revenue have weighed on fiscal performance. The weak growth outlook also forced the government to increase nominal spending, with a consequent jump in the annual deficit to its highest since the beginning of 2010. The government measures are to expire by year-end, with likely improvement in budget metrics next year, though currently increasing the Treasury’s borrowing requirement.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the budget deficit will be c.TRY61.1bn at end- 2017 (translating into 2% of GDP, vs 1.9% already as of April, on a 12M rolling basis), implying that stimulus measures like VAT cuts on certain consumer durables, deferral of social security premiums for new hirings, etc, will not be extended. Given that most of these measures are temporary in nature, we are likely to see an improvement in fiscal performance next year, while early elections, ruled out by the government so far, remains a key risk. The debt-to-GDP ratio, on the other hand, is envisaged at c.30%, still comparing favourably with other emerging markets.
TurkStat is due to release 1Q17 GDP data next week. We expect a continuation of the recovery that started in the last quarter of 2016. Recently released indicators hint at some further acceleration in 2Q17 economic activity, with higher PMI in tandem with rising CUR. Improvement in sectoral and consumer confidence after the referendum should also contribute to the recovery.
Following the significant deterioration in recent months, with the lagged spill-overs from TRY depreciation and volatility in food prices, inflation showed a modest improvement in May, from the peak realised in April. However, we think that May inflation will not make any significant impact on CBT behaviour. The central bank is likely to refrain from early easing and keep the current tight liquidity stance for a while, until recovery in the inflation outlook becomes apparent. Apart from the CBT’s liquidity tightness, the continued supportive global environment and a REER close to the lowest level realised since the 2001 financial crisis are likely to support TRY in the near term. Significant external financing needs are likely to remain a source of weakness in the longer term.
Elevated inflation and the CBT’s consequent policy tightening have kept the yield curve inverted in recent months, while an improving domestic climate after the referendum has accelerated debt inflows since mid-April, though foreign ownership of domestic debt remained low. Following a c.150bp rally in the long end from the peaks realised at the beginning of this year, we do not expect further strong performance.