3/19/2008

“Turkey's economy can withstand global economic turmoil”

Reuters - Turkey's economy can withstand global economic turmoil, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek told Reuters, to the point that a new IMF stand-by agreement is not needed and is indeed "unlikely". The International Monetary Fund's $10 billion loan agreement with Turkey, which expires in May, has been an anchor for Turkey's economy, helping it rebound strongly from a financial crisis in 2001. Simsek was in the United States for speaking engagements and meetings with investors. He will hold talks with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Washington on Thursday. "I do not believe that Turkey needs a stand-by agreement," he said. Instead it is considering either post-program monitoring or the use of a precautionary stand-by agreement. "No decision has been made. That decision will be made by May," he said, noting that due to parliamentary delays there is now a need to merge all outstanding reviews and try to complete them before the IMF program expires. "We think trend growth in Turkey, meaning potential growth, very comfortably you could talk about 6 percent. So sub-trend growth, you could say 4 or 5 (percent). Is it the end of the world? No. Not a big deal" he said.