The iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (NYSEArca: TUR) does not have a lot of fans these days, the unfortunate result of a 26% three month decline. In fairness to TUR, the ETF has steadied a bit and is up 2.7% in the past month.
Count Goldman Sachs among those that see the Turkish economy as vulnerable. “The Turkish economy may have to go through a significant adjustment as the U.S. economy continues to normalize over the next couple of years,” according to a note by Goldman’s Ahmet Akarli obtained by Bloomberg. Akarli added that adjustment could come by way of “a weaker exchange rate, as well as higher domestic rates.”
Turkey’s falling lira has previously been identified as a major source of concern for TUR and its holdings. The plunging lira has Turkey burning through currency reserves and prompted the central bank to raise interest rates in July, just two months after announcing a rate cut. [A Glum View on the Turkey ETF]
Goldman is by no means the only bank or research firm to cast a bearish view on Turkey in recent months. Last month, Capital Economics said “A country is especially vulnerable when it has a low level of foreign currency reserves…” and that Emerging Europe has “many countries that appear vulnerable on this metric.” Turkey fits the bill as an Emerging Europe nation with a strained foreign currency reserve situation. [More Warning Flags for Turkey ETF]
Add to that, as is the case in some other emerging markets, ratings agencies see the possibility of a liquidity shortfall in Turkey, news that comes just months after the country garnered an investment-grade credit rating. Turkey’s current account deficit could reach 6.9% by the end of this year, up from just over 6% at the end of last year, Bloomberg reported.
Much of TUR’s recent rockiness can be attributed to anti-government protests aimed at Prime Minister’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime. However, protests and fears of a liquidity crunch are new territories for Turkey and TUR. Turkey was once viewed as the beacon of stability and economic advancement in the Arab world. TUR was one of the best-performing emerging markets ETFs in 2012, soaring 66%.