The iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (NYSEArca: TUR) has been one of the most embattled single-country emerging markets exchange traded funds thanks in large part to a tumbling lira and speculation that Turkish equities are among the developing world’s most vulnerable to hawkish changes in Federal Reserve interest rate policy.
While TUR has joined in on the emerging markets bounce in recent days, the long-term outlook for the once vibrant Turkish economy is, in the eyes of some market observers, unsettling.
Global investors are dumping Turkish bonds, making the lira one of the worst-performing emerging currencies against the dollar this year. The central bank is under increased pressure to act in order to assuage market fears and prop up the quickly depreciating lira currency, especially in an uncertain political climate where there is rising risk of a snap election – President Tayyip Erdogan could call for a snap election on August 23 if a coalition government has not formed. The government has been the most vocal about cutting interest rates to stimulate growth. [Central Bank no Help to Turkey ETF]
Istanbul’s benchmark stock index has underperformed the MSCI Emerging Market Index amid political upheaval – Turkey’s ruling party failed to secure a majority in the June national elections, which created uncertainty in the markets as the country works on hodgepodge coalition.
Additionally, the slack performance turned in this year by Turkish stocks deals a blow to the notion that the country, a net oil importer, would benefit from slumping oil prices.
“According to the IMF’s latest forecasts, there will be a current account deficit of more than 3% of GDP in five years’ time in seven countries in the Peterson Institute’s sample: Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, Poland, Brazil, the United States and Australia,” said Capital Economics in a note posted by Dimitra DeFotis of Barron’s.