A trading report giving insights into the Turkish market has been published by leading trade credit insurer Atradius.
The Turkey Country Report analyses the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the market which managed to avoid recession in 2020.
In the report, Atradius reveals Turkish GDP grew 1.8% in 2020 despite the adverse conditions of the pandemic. Turkey is highly reliant on the hard-hit tourism sector, which usually accounts for more than 11% of GDP, while global supply chain disruptions in combination with the drop in global demand negatively affected exports of goods. However, strong credit growth – up 35% year-on-year in 2020 – trigged by the government and Central Bank softened the impact of lockdown measures on domestic activity.
Meanwhile, private consumption increased 2.5% last year while real fixed investments rose 8%. Atradius highlights the large credit growth fuelled demand of imports which increased 6.3% in 2020, albeit these became more expensive due to the weak lira exchange rate leading to an upward effect on inflation to 12.3%.
Atradius reports credit growth as the main driver of economic expansion has slowed down since Q4 of 2020 due to higher interest rates and the removal of regulatory measures to enforce bank credit expansion. Nevertheless, Atradius expects the economy to grow by about 5% in 2021, supported by the ongoing global recovery. The Atradius Turkey Country Report also forecasts industrial production will increase by more than 9% this year while exports will grow around 11% due to resurging external demand and an expected rebound in tourism in H2. However, investment growth will be affected by persisting economic policy uncertainties while private consumption will increase by just 2%, impacted by persisting high inflation, forecast at 14% in 2021.
Turkey was a global outlier after seeing an increase in insolvencies in 2020, rising 14% compared to a global decline in the average insolvency rate of 14%. Elsewhere, significant fiscal support measures and insolvency law changes kept businesses afloat and led to a widespread drop in failure rates. In 2021, the average global insolvency rate is forecast to rise 26%. By comparison, insolvencies are expected to decline 6% in Turkey in 2021 due to there being little carry-over of bankruptcies from 2020 and a weak level of fiscal support. Cumulatively, insolvencies are forecast to rise 6% in Turkey between 2019 and 2021.
Atradius warns businesses trading with Turkey to be mindful of the risk of continued exchange rate volatility while highlighting that the future earning capacity of the Turkish economy remains constrained by macroeconomic imbalances related to credit growth, high inflation, a large external deficit and structural issues. Without structural reforms to raise savings, reduce dependency on energy imports and improve the investment climate, Turkey’s potential growth rate will decrease to 3.0%-3.5% per year in the long term. Atradius warns this is not enough to absorb the increase in the working-age population of about one million people per year.
James Burgess, head of commercial for Atradius UK and Ireland, commented: “The pandemic has led to a shift in global trading conditions and uncertainty about its continued impact on global markets. It is imperative that businesses stay abreast of the latest economic conditions of the markets with real-time information. With the right knowledge, tools and a robust risk management strategy in place, businesses can be agile to respond to these changing environments and be the best placed to weather the storm of uncertainty and seize opportunities to trade successfully and safely.”