ECONOMY

Turkish economy grows by 9.9 percent in 2004, beats target

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey’s gross national product grew by 9.9 percent in 2004, almost double the government target, the National Statistics Service (NSS) announced yesterday. The figure was in line with a forecast of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which said the country should achieve 10 percent growth at the end of 2004. The Turkish government had set its formal target at 5.0 percent under a tight economic recovery program backed by multi-billion-dollar loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In the fourth quarter of 2004, the gross national product grew by 6.6 percent compared to the same period in 2003, the NSS said. Gross domestic product grew 8.9 percent in 2004 compared with the previous year, while gross national product per capita reached $4,172, up from $3,383 in 2003, the NSS said. Last year, the Turkish economy grew by 5.9 percent as it began to emerge from one of its worst-ever recessions, triggered by severe financial turmoil in 2001. Other key economic indicators such as inflation also improved under the IMF-sponsored program, which was backed by a $16 billion loan. An IMF team is expected in Turkey next week to put the final touches on a new $10 billion standby program to succeed the one that expired in February. The IMF has said that the new program, if implemented properly, would allow Turkey to forgo further financial support from the international lender. The program is based on targets of 5 percent annual growth from 2005 to 2007 and single-digit inflation, projected at 8.0 percent in 2005, 5.0 percent in 2006 and 4.0 percent in 2007.