Signs of increasing pressure on interest rates in the Treasury’s cash balance data

Being a leading indicator for Central government budget data, Treasury’s cash balance gave a deficit of TRY 30.8 billion (USD 4.5 billion) in July up TRY 4 billion from June figures. Cash balance has been in a row of negative territory since February 2020.

Revenues rose by 42% m/m to TRY 87 billion in July while expenditures rose by 32% to TRY 118,2 billion.

Year-to-date aggregate cash deficit hit to top to TRY 140 billion in the first seven months of 2020 alone while total cash deficit recorded TRY 131 billion in 2019 and TRY 70 billion in 2018.

Source: Turkey Data Monitor, Ministry of Treasury and Finance

Another importance of cash balance is that it provides information about the sources of financing of cash deficit. Budget deficit of TRY 30,8 in July was financed with net borrowing of TRY 48.9 billion and the change in exchange rate of TRY 1.2 billion in the Cash/Bank item, and lastly the excess amount of TRY 18.2 billion was transferred to the deposit account of Treasury in the Central Bank of Turkey (CBT).

The main financing source of the cash deficit is the borrowing item. Let’s focus on borrowing strategy of the Treasury in July:

. The Treasury being a net payer in foreign borrowing since March 2020 did not borrow from abroad while paying its foreign debt of TRY 0.4 billion in July. For sure, this is due to the lower level of foreign debt payments. The first higher foreign debt payment of USD 4.6 billion is due on March 2021 while USD 1.3 billion of foreign debt is due on June 2021.

. The Treasury borrowed a debt of TRY 64.2 billion from domestic markets July while paying domestic debt of TRY 14.9 billion. Thus, net domestic borrowing amounted to TL 49.3 billion in July.

Source: Turkey Data Monitor, Ministry of Treasury and Finance

As it is understood, the Treasury concentrated on domestic borrowing in a current time of decreasing revenues, soaring expenditures, and depreciation of Turkish lira due to pandemic. It is quite reasonable that the Treasury concentrates on domestic borrowing to decrease the currency risk in a time of CBT melting its foreign exchange reserves so that Turkish lira not to depreciate.

What are the costs of CBT melting its foreign exchange reserves?

. Opening the credit taps mainly through public banks at lower interest rates to increase domestic demand,

. Returns on deposits and government bonds being under inflation rate (which is called as negative real rates)

. CBT financing the banks at the rates below policy rate (which makes the deposit rates being under inflation rate),

. Latest implementations jeopardizing asset quality of banking sector, and lastly

. All of the factors counted above combined with concerns on second wave of pandemic resulted in

.. interest rate of 2-year government bond increased above 14% on August 11th from the levels of 9% seen in the beginning of July,

.. USD/TRY increased above 6% and EUR/TRY increased above 5% compared to the levels at the end of July, and

.. Turkey’s 10-year CDS premium surged above 600.

CBT responded all these developments above as

. reducing liquidity limits of primary banks to half of their current limits on August 7th,

. increasing funding rate of banks to 8.25%,

. reducing liquidity limits of primary banks to zero on August 11th.

Besides, in its announcement dated August 6th, BDDK (Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency) announced that international development banks are exempted from the limitations of accessing TRY in case of fulfilling specified conditions.

CBT will convene for monetary policy meeting on August 20th. Bank’s policy rate, which is 1-week repo rate, is at 8.25%. CBT has been holding policy rate since May 2020 when CBT decreased the policy rate by 50 bps to 8.25%. Considering latest liquidity tightening measures, any rate hike seems uncertain as for now. Even if CBT decides to hold the policy rate next week, steps should be taken to restore confidence in the current environment where the budget deficit continues to increase. Otherwise, even if not in September, the pressure on bond yields may increase in October, when the Treasury’s redemptions will increase twice compared to September, as the Treasury tries to roll over its increasing domestic debt by issuing bonds. This may force the CBRT to raise interest rates drastically sooner or later. We witnessed drastic rate hikes when CBT raised policy rate from 4.5% to 10.0% in January 2014, from 8.0% to 16.5% in June 2018, from 17.75% to 24,0% in September 2018.

Source: Turkey Data Monitor

Fulya Gürbüz, Ph.D.

The industrial sector accelerated due to the increase in exports in June

Following a record low levels stemming from pandemic related isolation in April and a moderate improvement in May, we saw a rapid increase in industrial production in June. The reasons behind the improvement in June are purchasing managers indices and exports figures:

According to unadjusted figures, Industrial Sector PMI Index (SAMEKS) increased to 49.7 in May and to 56.7 in June following record low levels of 25.4 in April. Figures lower than 50 level point out contraction compared to the previous month in the sector. According to the calendar and seasonally adjusted figures, the index navigated from 29.7 in April to 44.6 in May and to 51.6 in June. New orders sub-index increased by 9.8 points m/m to 52.8, input purchases sub-index increased by 9.0 points m/m to 57.5, production sub-index increased by 8.5 points m/m to 49.2 and employment sub-index increased by 13.5 points m/m to 58.1 in June.

IHS Markit Turkey Manufacturing PMI index increased to 53.9 in June, from levels of 33.4 in April and 40.9 in May. Like SAMEKS index, levels above 50 in ISO Markit PMI index refer to growth in the sector compared to the previous month. Although new orders increased in June, rate of increase in new export orders fell behind total new orders. Furthermore, both employment purchasing activity increased in June. However, input stocks decreased due to the use of existing stocks in the same period.

The factor that pulled down the SAMEKS and ISO PMI indices was the decrease in delivery times sub-index. This demonstrated that disruptions in the supply chain continue. However, depreciation in Turkish lira in June resulted in rise in both input costs and thus selling prices, and output charges increased at the fastest pace in the last three months.

According to TİM (Turkish Exporters Assembly) export figures of General Trade System increased to 13,469 million dollars in June following 8,993 million dollars in April and 9,964 million dollars in May. You can see the figures of Industrial Sector SAMEKS and TİM export figures for the last 3.5 years.

As can be seen the graph below, while the main export sector was Apparel sector in period of 2000-2006, Motor Vehicles and Spare Parts sector has received the flag since 2006. Automotive sector exports, which fell to $ 596 million in April increased to 1.2 billion in May and to 2,0 billion dollars in June. However, the exports performance in June is below the March figures.

The graph below shows annual average export figures of main exports sectors in period of 2000-2019.

Although export sectors got momentum in June as can be seen the graph below, performance of the sectors are behind the average of 2019 figures as we consider the graph above. Performance of the leading export sector, Motor Vehicles and Spare Parts, is at the levels seen in the period of 2013-2015 yet.

And finaly, we consider the services sector with the help of Services Sector SAMEKS Index and import figures in June. Services Sector SAMEKS Index increased by 0.5 points to 42.4 which means that the contraction in the sector continued in June at a slower pace compared to the previous month. The reason behind the rise is the input purchases sub-index increasing by 3.4 points to 50.1 in June.  Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Commerce foreign trade figures in June, imports of intermediate and investment goods increased in June compared to the previous month. When we consider ISO PMI figures indicating pace of exports orders falling behind total orders, the rise in imports of intermediate and investment goods supports the rise in input purchases for both supplying export orders and input stocks. Excluding increasing gold imports in June, retail sales figures of June due on August will show the other reasons behind the rise in domestic orders.

On the other hand, it is clear that the rising of credit volume which began in the second half of 2019 and continues since the beginning of 2020 will support economic growth in the second quarter of 2020. However, any delay in the growth engine of the services sector activity, which is the engine of the economic growth, and increasing price levels may result in weakening of purchasing power.

Let me bring it to your attention; while the ratio of non-performing loans to total loans is at 4.8% in May, the of ratio of expected loss provisions to total loans is at 5.3% in the same period. Despite the fact that the ratio of non-performing loans to total loans was at 5.7% in December 2019 and the of ratio of expected loss provisions to total loans was at 5.5% in January 2020, and decreased from these levels in May, trend in non-performing loans would not exhibit an optimistic outlook for the banking sector should deterioration of the income distribution continue.income distribution,

Dr. Fulya Gürbüz