Dervis calms jittery bourse

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish shares edged higher yesterday after positive comments from Economy Minister Kemal Dervis helped offset worries sparked by the ill health of 77-year-old Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, brokers said. The main ISE National-100 index ended 0.26 percent up at 11,669.23 after brushing a low of 11,441 points after Ecevit said his recovery from illness would keep him away from his desk for a few more days. Dervis told reporters that Turkey’s $16 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund was on course and would be implemented strongly, helping to offset concerns that Ecevit’s illness might spark new elections. Dervis himself wobbled the market last week when he said setting a date for polls would help end uncertainty. «Instead of last week’s political remarks from Dervis (on elections), there were statements on the economy,» said Umit Sener at Yatirim Finansman Securities in Istanbul. «That provided a calmer environment but shares also recovered on technical reactionary buying as there were not many sellers around at that level,» he said. After a meeting with Finance Minister Sumer Oral on Monday, Dervis said a strong finance policy was in place. «Inflation will fall, growth will speed up and no concession will be given on finance and monetary policy; it will go on in the same strong way,» he said. Daily turnover dipped to a weak 167 trillion lira (some $120 million) from Friday’s 260.9 trillion. Of the 292 shares traded, 110 declined, 104 ended unchanged, and 78 rose. Brokers said talk of elections, which first surfaced after Ecevit was briefly hospitalized over the previous weekend, still overshadowed the market which was also tracking this week’s IMF inspection visit and the steps Turkey has pledged to earn the next $1.1 billion loan payment. An IMF inspection team is due to begin a two-week review of progress under its loan accord tomorrow. – Atlantic round voyage is a little more than USD 8,000 daily while Pacific rounds close to USD 6,500. The differential between the two areas is closing and a tighter market can be anticipated as a result.