Merrill Lynch plans new Turkish property fund in 08

Reuters - Merrill Lynch plans to launch a new Turkish real estate investment fund by the end of this year, the head of the investment bank's Turkish arm said. The new fund follows another real estate fund worth $1 billion launched just over a year ago. Merrill Lynch Türkiye chief Kubilay Cinemre gave no details on the possible size of a new fund. "We launched a $1 billion real estate fund 14 months ago, and we're about to complete that fund. We're continuing work on raising another fund," he told reporters. Real estate in Türkiye has boomed in recent years, helped by a fast-growing population, economic growth averaging 7 percent a year since 2001, foreign investment and the start of European Union membership talks. But economic growth is seen slowing this year to less than 4 percent, while the central bank is expected to keep hiking Türkiye's already high interest rates.