Turkey’s central bank promises action after inflation surges to 18%

The comments from Turkey’s central bank underscore the volatile outlook for prices amid a currency crisis. (Reuters)
Updated 03 September 2018
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Turkey’s central bank promises action after inflation surges to 18%

  • The lira has lost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to see lower borrowing costs

ANKARA: Turkey’s central bank said it would adjust its monetary stance given “significant risks” to price stability, a rare move to calm financial markets after inflation surged to its highest in nearly a decade and a half on Monday. The comments from the central bank underscore the volatile outlook for prices amid a currency crisis. The lira has lost 40 percent of its value against the dollar this year, driving up the cost of goods from potatoes to petrol and sparking alarm about the impact on the wider economy and the banking system.
Inflation jumped 17.9 percent year-on-year in August, official data showed, outstripping market expectations and marking its highest level since late 2003.
“Recent developments regarding the inflation outlook indicate significant risks to price stability. The central bank will take the necessary actions to support price stability,” the bank said in a statement.
“(The) monetary stance will be adjusted at the September monetary policy committee meeting in view of the latest developments.”
For investors, the main question has been whether the central bank will be able to sufficiently hike interest rates at its next policy-setting meeting on Sept. 13 to tame inflation. It left rates on hold at its last meeting in July, confounding expectations and sending the lira sharply weaker.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a self-described “enemy of interest rates,” wants to see lower borrowing costs to keep credit-fueled growth on track. Investors, who fear the economy is set for a hard landing, want big rate hikes.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak told Reuters in an interview on Sunday that the bank was independent of the government and would take all necessary steps to combat inflation. He also promised a “full-fledged fight” against inflation.
By signalling that it was ready to take action, the central bank may now have inadvertently set financial markets up for disappointment if it doesn’t deliver a hefty increase, said Piotr Matys, an emerging markets forex strategist at Rabobank.
“A proper rate hike is required and by making a pledge to raise interest rates, the central bank may have raised the bar for itself to exceed expectations on Sept. 13,” Matys said. “The central bank basically has no room to disappoint.”
The lira briefly recovered some losses immediately after the central bank’s announcement. By 0852 GMT it was more than 1 percent weaker on the day at 6.6200 to the dollar.
The bank is likely to deliver a rate hike of 2 percentage points on Sept. 13, far short of the 7-10 percentage points that investors would like to see, said Jason Tuvey of Capital Economics in a note to clients.
Such increases are needed “to bring real interest rates back to positive territory and reassure the markets that policymakers are willing and able to tackle high inflation,” he said.


Actis takes on management of two Abraaj funds

Updated 15 July 2019
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Actis takes on management of two Abraaj funds

  • US prosecutors have in recent months charged several executives of Abraaj with criminal charges, accusing them of taking part in a massive scheme to defraud investors

DUBAI:Actis said on Monday it had acquired the rights to manage two private equity funds previously managed by collapsed buyout firm Abraaj, in a deal aimed at strengthening its position in the Middle East and Africa.

Actis will take over the management rights to Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV and Abraaj Africa fund III, it said in a statement.
Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation in June 2018, was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last year in the aftermath of a row with investors over the use of money in a $1 billion health care fund.
The transaction includes investments in 14 portfolio companies across the two funds, Actis said.
“This Abraaj transaction further bolsters Actis’ footprint in the growth markets and follows the addition and integration of Standard Chartered’s Principal Finance Real Estate business in Asia in 2018,” it said.

BACKGROUND

Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation in June 2018, was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa.

Actis now has $12 billion under management and more than 250 people across 16 offices.
The Actis transaction comes after the finalization of two other Abraaj deals — the transfer of management of the $1 billion health care fund to US buyout fund TPG and the sale of Abraaj’s Latin America fund to Colony Capital.
NBK Capital Partners, owned by Kuwait’s biggest lender, walked away from advanced talks to buy a global credit fund previously managed by Abraaj, Reuters reported last month.
US prosecutors have in recent months charged several executives of Abraaj with criminal charges, accusing them of taking part in a massive scheme to defraud investors.