Turkish businessmen more confident over meeting IMF targets

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A survey from Turkey’s central bank yesterday revealed for the first time expectations the economy will reach an International Monetary Fund-backed year-end growth target. Gross national product (GNP) was seen growing by 5 percent by the end of 2003, according to the biweekly survey of some 70 business leaders. Expectations for GNP growth two weeks ago stood at 4.9 percent. Hopes for Turkey’s economy after a devastating 2001 financial crisis have also buoyed confidence in the lira currency, which last week reached a 14-month high of around 1,370,000 against the dollar. The lira was seen dropping to 1,700,300 to the dollar by the end of the year from a previous forecast of 1,725,600. It was trading at 1,395,000 on the interbank market yesterday. Consumer price inflation (CPI) was seen edging toward the IMF-agreed target of 20 percent by year-end. The survey predicted year-end CPI would reach 23.7 percent from a previous forecast of 24 percent. Year-on-year June CPI was 29.8 percent. Interest rates of three-month debt were seen at 34 percent at year-end from a previous prediction of 35.5 percent.

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