Turkey’s growth will continue in 2009, Halkbank executive claims

Posted on 14 February 2011

Date: 13/01/2009
Turkey’s growth will continue in 2009, Halkbank executive claims

The Turkish economy will continue to grow in 2009 and the possibility of a recession is almost zero, Halkbank Vice General Manager Sahap Kavcioglu has said.

Kavcioglu spoke to Today’s Zaman to share his reflections on the most recent developments in the global economy and their effects on domestic economic conditions.

“Those who claim the economy will fall into a recession this year definitely don’t know much about Turkey,” Kavcioglu stated.

He predicted that the Turkish economy will succeed in growing over 2 percent this year. “Many companies have initiated investments, and they are unlikely to give up or postpone these investments. Besides, a Turkish businessman usually moves heaven and earth to sell his product and eventually finds a feasible way,” he said.

Still he agreed that the Turkish financial and nonfinancial sectors are experiencing some trouble, primarily regarding loan channels and especially owing to problems in overall liquidity conditions; however, Kavcioglu emphasized, banks are not prone to blocking businessmen’s access to loans. Halkbank, he noted, has not called in any loans earlier than their due date. “Having seen that there is no problem, we have decided to continue on our track as fast as we can. We are holding money, and it is certain that we have to utilize this money to keep up with our liabilities,” he added.

Like Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kavcioglu also claimed the gloomy situation in Turkey is more of a psychological issue. He stated that the relative contraction in economic activity is not real considering the declining interest rates. The costs of using a loan are falling sharply whereas businessmen are growing more reluctant to benefit from these more lucrative conditions, he pointed out, claiming that only psychological terminology can explain this anomaly.

He said the amount of loans distributed normally decreases at the end of the year. “The loan numbers keep falling in the months of January and February, too, since these two months are usually spent preparing and fixing balance sheets. Loans start rising again by March and April. I don’t think there will be any serious problems for the Turkish economy this year, especially considering the reinvigoration in the spring time,” he added.

Kavcioglu praised the measures taken by the government, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and the central bank, an independent authority that sets and conducts monetary policy, to ease the negative impacts of the ongoing global economic crisis. He said their measures did well to inspire and strengthen confidence in the markets and that, thanks to these steps, loan channels will open wider in the coming periods.

Halkbank extended support packages for the nonfinancial sector totaling YTL 1.5 billion in 2008, and another TL 700 million will be allocated to provide relief to the ailing nonfinancial sector in 2009, Kavcioglu noted. In addition, Halkbank will deliver 20 percent more loans to small companies this year, he noted.

Halkbank provided YTL 17.8 billion in loans in 2007, and this number had risen to YTL 23.8 billion by the end of the third quarter in 2008. Year-end figures have not yet been disclosed.

13 January 2009 – Today’s Zaman

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