ECONOMY

Turkey boosted by New Year hopes

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Positive expectations for the New Year boosted Turkish shares by 4 percent to a 2001 high yesterday, amid signs of recovery in Turkey’s crisis-hit banking sector and hopes for a new standby deal with the IMF. Brokers said expectations of an influx of foreign cash based on a government commitment to reforms which are key to $10 billion in fresh IMF lending had provoked buying. Market-heavy commercial bank Garanti Bankasi topped the active list, rising 8.7 percent to 2,500 lira after data released by Turkey’s banking watchdog this week indicated the sector was recovering from February’s financial crisis. The watchdog said on Tuesday that total losses at Turkish banks operating outside of state receivership narrowed to $3.3 billion in the third quarter of the year from $3.9 billion at the end of the second quarter. The watchdog announced on Wednesday that losses at eight banks still under receivership totaled 8,560 trillion lira (around $5.75 billion) through November 30. The eight banks are Turk Ticaret Bankasi (Turkbank), Etibank, Iktisat Bankasi, Bayindirbank, Sitebank, Kentbank, EGS Bank and Milli Aydin Bankasi (Tarisbank). Iktisat was closed by the watchdog on December 7. «The rise is a move by local investors amid expectations of foreign investment in the New Year,» said Cem Marti at Ata Investment in Istanbul. The main National-100 index ended up 4.14 percent at 13,608.99 points, building on the 3-percent gains of the previous two trading days. Turkey will receive some $16.5 billion in 2002-2004 from the IMF, including a new $10-billion standby accord expected to be signed in January, to support its crisis-hit economy, government officials said on Wednesday. Markets have been buoyed in recent days after the government announced it would pass key reforms of privatization and public procurement by January 15. Gains were spread across the board as 236 of 287 traded shares ended higher, while 19 declined and 32 closed unchanged. Daily turnover rose to 660.17 trillion lira (around $460 million) from Wednesday’s 473.1 trillion lira. The market will be closed for the New Year holiday on Monday and Tuesday, making today the last trading day of 2001. Transactions made today will be settled next Thursday.