“Panic buys” push up white goods sales in Turkey as consumers fret over impending credit card curbs

By bne IntelliNews March 4, 2024

White goods sales in Turkey moved up 22% y/y in January as anxious consumers rushed to stores to make “panic buys” ahead of possible government measures to curb credit card spending, according to trade group TURKBESD.

Newly appointed central bank governor Fatih Karahan reiterated in February that the authority was keeping a close eye on credit card spending and was working on dealing with the issue.

Karahan, however, did not say what actions might be taken in the face of the credit card spending spike that is concerning economic officials.

Credit card spending leapt 126% y/y in January to TRY811bn ($25.8bn), data from Interbank Card Centre, BKM, showed.

Official inflation was running at 65%.

Expectations that the nine-month instalment limit on credit cards could be reduced have irked consumers, leading to the panic buying, TURKBESD said.

If curbs were introduced on credit cards, this would only adversely impact sales in the medium term, it added, noting that consumers were resorting to credit cards to meet needs as prices rise faster than income.

TURKBESD also said that the industry’s exports fell 2% m/m in January, while combined domestic and international sales showed a 5% y/y increase. The y/y decline in exports was 10%.

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