ECONOMY

Turk market firm, TAV up

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Turkish currency and stocks firmed slightly yesterday, tracing global markets, while shares in airport operator TAV rose 8 percent after it said it planned an IPO for its ground handling unit Havas. The main Istanbul stock index, which had fallen more than 20 percent in the year to date, rose 1.3 percent yesterday to 43,468 points. «The index rose on the back of foreign markets, but volume remained low… If the volume doesn’t increase, the index could struggle around the resistance level of 44,500 points,» said Zeynel Abidin Balci, head of research at Acar Investment. «We need support from foreign markets for the volumes to go up and reaction buying to come in,» he said. The lira firmed slightly to close on the interbank market at 1.2115 against the dollar from Tuesday’s close of 1.2140. The currency, backed by high interest rates, has lost just 4 percent this year amid a sell-off on global markets. Turkey investors looked forward to a revision to gross national product data due to be published on Saturday, after the Turkish Statistics Institute said it had finished the revision in a long-awaited announcement. «Rating agency comments have been relatively subdued on the issue, but we do expect the revisions (assuming they are to the upside) to help support Turkey’s credit story and thus ratings,» said Simon Quijano-Evans, economist at Unicredit MIB, noting that the revisions would affect key ratios such as public debt to GNP and current account deficit to GNP. Markets shrugged off a report from Standard & Poor’s yesterday saying that a long slowdown in the United States could shrink risk appetite and prompt emerging countries with high external financing needs – such as Turkey and Hungary – to raise interest rates. Turkey has some of the highest interest rates in emerging markets, even after a series of cuts from the central bank which have knocked 225 basis points off the benchmark rate since September. Lira bonds firmed as the yield on the October 7, 2009 benchmark fell to 17.10 percent from 17.17 percent on Tuesday. Shares in ground handling firm Celebi Hava Servisi also soared 9.2 percent to 8.35 lira yesterday after TAV said it was listing its ground handling business, Havas. Shares in TAV, which gave no timetable for the deal, closed 8.0 percent stronger at 7.45 lira.