Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Turkey is heading for economic collapse, Ashmore says

Thursday 11/July/2019 - 03:31 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan risks pushing Turkey’s economy into an economic collapse similar to those seen in Latin America under populist regimes, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, quoting Ashmore Group Plc.

While more diversified than Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy, Turkey is currently on a very similar path of policy missteps that are likely to lead to ruin, the $85 billion emerging-market asset manager said.

Capital controls, nationalization and other policies designed to prevent the private sector from protecting its property as the macroeconomic environment deteriorates are the next “logical policy steps” that will follow in Turkey, Jan Dehn, the London-based head of research at Ashmore, said by email.

His comments, initially in a research report Tuesday, came after Erdogan rattled markets by dismissing central-bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya early Saturday.

“The problem is that U-turning back to good policies has very big upfront political costs,” said Dehn, who caught the bottom of the market on the Russian ruble in December 2014 and turned bullish on emerging markets in October 2015, months before a two-year rally began. “The longer he delays the bigger the cost, which is why politicians who go down the heterodox route rarely change tack and they almost always end in crisis.”

Turkish officials have repeatedly denied any plans to impose capital controls and said they would adhere to free-market principles.

Dehn expounded the causes of the decline saying that "bad economic policies begin to extract a political cost

Instead of fixing the causes of the underlying economic problem, the government decides to attack the symptoms of the problem, such as inflation, slower growth, weaker currency and slowing investment. The real problems meanwhile are ignored and get worse. They include bad monetary policies, increasing interventionism, failure to develop local financing markets, overly low savings rates and bad foreign policies."

The government also blames other groups instead of itself, because this works politically, but it only makes investors and businesses even more worried as Erdogan will need more and more scapegoats as the economy worsens.

As the economic outlook worsens, investors and businesses begin to take action to defend their wealth and livelihoods. This results in capital flight, declining investment and other hedging strategies.

The government starts to blame the private sector for bad performance, taking action to prevent their defensive actions. Enter capital controls, nationalization, forced conversion of contracts.

Eventually, the government has no financing, no growth, no future and plunges into a crisis.