Turkey Seen Missing Growth Target as Manufacturing Slumps

Turkey’s economy is showing signs of slowing, with the weakest manufacturing data in a year bolstering speculation it may miss its year-end growth target.

The HSBC purchasing managers’ index declined to 49.8 in July from 51.2. The figure, released by Markit Economics today, is the lowest since July 2012. A reading above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 a contraction.

Turkey joins emerging markets including Russia and Hungary that are showing signs of weakening economic activity as volatility rises amid questions over how long the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue its bond-buying program. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in May that he may consider tapering the purchases, sparking a sell-off in emerging market assets. That was amplified in Turkey by anti-government protests in June.

“Very weak print,” Tim Ash, chief emerging market strategist at Standard Bank in London, said in e-mailed comments. “The combined impact of lira weakness/volatility and political instability around Gezi will impact significantly on domestic confidence.” Turkish growth probably won’t be much higher than the 2.2 percent expansion last year, he said.

Cutting Forecasts

Economists have been gradually cutting growth forecasts for Turkey, with the average estimate of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg at 3.8 percent on July 25, compared with 4 percent the previous month. Central bank Governor Erdem Basci yesterday joined other officials in saying forecasts may be revised.

“It should not be a surprise if we had to revise down our growth expectations while the same is being done in all emerging economies,” Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said in an interview with CNBC-e television on July 17.

The lira strengthened 0.2 percent to 1.9363 per dollar at 11:54 a.m. in Istanbul. The yield on benchmark two-year notes fell 28 basis points, or 0.28 percentage point, to 8.95 percent.

Turkish companies saw the biggest monthly fall in new export orders since August 2011 due to anti-government protests in Turkey and political turbulence in Egypt, Murat Ulgen, chief economist at HSBC Turkey, said in an e-mailed report.

“Volatility in the recent period in foreign and domestic markets has had some negative effect on the manufacturing industry,” Ulgen said. “Production volumes are staying the same and new order volumes are decreasing.”

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