Turkish Assets Jump as Erdogan Tilts Toward NATO Deal
The cost of insuring Turkey’s bonds against default sunk after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to stop blocking Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance, reducing geopolitical tensions weighing on the country.
“Make no mistake, this is a very big deal for Turkey,” said Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. “Perhaps this is yet another baby step toward Turkey becoming investable once again.”
Geopolitical risks have helped sap demand for Turkish assets as ties between Erdogan and key western allies had been strained by Istanbul’s blockade of Sweden’s membership in NATO and its purchase of a Russian missile system. Since the election, however, Erdogan has been gradually warming relations and rolling back unorthodox economic policies in hopes of luring back foreign capital to rejuvenate the Turkish economy.
“After years of deteriorating relations with the West, it appears that Turkey is finally realizing that closer relations with Russia was not a good look,” BBH’s Thin said.
In another encouraging sign for investors, Erdogan is due to meet US President Joe Biden at a NATO summit in Lithuania in Tuesday, where they’re due to discuss Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 jets.
Turkey’s lira’s traded 0.1% weaker at 26.11 against the dollar, continuing its depreciation since Turkish authorities allowed more currency flexibility in the wake of the ballot, part of its approach of gradually abandoning unorthodox economic policies. The yield on Turkey’s 10-year dollar bond fell 28 basis points to 8.74% while the benchmark Borsa Istanbul Banks Index rose 4.9%
With the country’s foreign currency reserves depleted and with more than $200 billion of debt payments coming due, Erdogan is looking to plug an investment gap. The president will visit United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar between July 17-19.
Meanwhile, Turkish Treasury & Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said a rise in central bank reserves in June was “encouraging.”
“The NATO deal, growing reserves, even a gradual shift to orthodox policies and expectations of more money from the Gulf are all aiding the positive sentiment and leading to drop on risk measures,” said Viktor Szabo, an investment director at Abrdn in London.