ECONOMY

Turkish roadshow starts next week

LONDON (Reuters) – Turkish officials, including Economy Minister Ali Babacan, will visit fund managers in the USA next week, in a roadshow arranged by Merrill Lynch, traders in London said yesterday. Officials at the named bank were not immediately available for comment. A trader away from the lead said, «We have heard there is a US roadshow starting Monday 8.» Another trader said Babacan was expected to meet fund managers in Chicago, Boston, New York, and the Pacific coast during a weeklong trip. Babacan and Turkish financial officials visited the USA two weeks ago to meet US Treasury officials to discuss the terms of a $8.5 billion loan deal, which US officials said might be signed by the end of September. Although new bonds do not always follow presentations like the one expected next week, investors tend to expect a new bond after a roadshow. «There is some talk they might do a 20-year bond, but I am not sure,» said a fund manager in France. Frequent borrowers sometimes use such roadshows as a way of testing market appetite for new issuance. The investor said Turkey’s economic chieftains had visited European capitals in July, but Turkey did try to borrow in the traditionally illiquid summer markets. Emerging bond markets were illiquid through most of July and August, but trade has begun to recover this week. Turkish borrowing rates have fallen steadily since July, thanks to falling inflation and rising expectations of US loans at concessionary rates, which boosted demand for that country’s debt. Turkey’s benchmark 2030 dollar bond traded at 110.25 percent of face value yesterday, up 1.25 points on the session, 9.5 percentage points of face value higher than its lows at the start of July. That means the country’s 30-year dollar borrowing rate has fallen from 11.8 percent to 10.7 percent in around two months. In recent days, traders have come to believe that Turkey will get the concessionary loan before having to commit to assisting in the US occupation in Iraq. Supporting the USA in Iraq is politically contentious in Turkey. In early March, Parliament threw out a measure which would have allowed US troops access to southern Turkey, even though doing so forfeited a potential loan deal worth an estimated $30 billion. The USA wanted to use bases in Turkey to open a second front in Iraq for the US-led war that took place there in March, April and May this year.