Turkish consumer confidence walloped

Turkish consumer confidence walloped
By Akin Nazli in Belgrade September 20, 2018

Turkey's consumer sentiment reading has seen its biggest decline in at least 14 years in September, falling 13% m/m. That is the sharpest monthly decline recorded since 2004 when the index was first compiled, and follows the 7% m/m drop posted in August.

The index figure of 59.3 registered in September was the lowest level seen since September 2015, data from national statistics office TUIK released on September 20 also showed.

“Hard landing. Seemed to be the message from my Turkey trip this week,” Timothy Ash of Bluebay Asset Management said in brief note to investors on the figures.

In July, the consumer confidence index saw 2018’s highest point to date, reaching 73.1. Sharp declines have now been registered for the subsequent two months on the back of the severe slump of the Turkish lira (TRY)—it was still trading at around 40% down against the dollar in the year so far during the late afternoon of September 20—fears of an upcoming painful economic downturn and accelerating annual inflation.

The inflation rate leapt again in August, soaring to a 15-year high of 17.9% y/y from July’s 15.85% y/y, TUIK announced on September 3. Given Turkey's ongoing currency crisis, markets see it passing 20% in months ahead.

Food prices, which makes up nearly a quarter of the consumer price inflation basket, rose an annual 19.75% in the month, up from 19.4% y/y in July.

The calendar-adjusted retail sales volume index rose by 3.1% y/y in July, marking the lowest annual growth recorded since February 2017, national statistics office TUIK reported on September 17.

Homes sales declined by 13% y/y to 105,154 units in August following the growth of 7% y/y registered in Julynational statistics office TUIK reported on September 17.

The Turkish Automotive Distributors’ Association (ODD) reported on September 4 that car and light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales collapsed to just 34,346 units in August from 72,536 a year earlier.

Turkish voters are due to go to the polls for local elections by March 2019.

Debt-fuelled consumption has been the prime feature of the country’s remarkable economic growth achieved during much of the past decade.

Real private consumption growth declined to 6.3% y/y in Q2 from 9.3% in Q1 while private consumption’s share in Turkey’s overall GDP based on current prices fell to 59% from 60.3%, according to the latest GDP data. Real private consumption growth was 6.1% in 2017 and private consumption’s share in overall GDP was 59%.