Turkey's Central Bank announced on Dec. 17 that the country's short-term external debt stock totaled $118 billion as of October. Half of the country's short-term foreign debt stock was in U.S. dollars, followed by 30.6 percent in euros, 13.4 percent in Turkish liras, and 6 percent in other currencies. The public sector's short-term debt, mainly of public banks, hit $21.7 billion, up 3.7 percent.
Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) has sent an advisory document to the banks, saying that it's necessary to maintain a cautious policy aimed at keeping banks' resource structures and hence, the profits obtained in 2019 should not be distributed to shareholders and executives. "The profits and reserves kept under resources shouldn't be distributed in a way that would cause cash outflows," the BDDK said.
The Turkish lira depreciated 0.7 percent to 5.85 per dollar by 5:25 p.m. in Istanbul after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to close two critical NATO bases, Bloomberg reported on Dec. 16. The lira has already weakened more than any other emerging-market currency since Dec. 12, when the central bank cut rates a for a fourth straight meeting to 12 percent.
Turkey was placed on probation by the G-7 Financial Action Task Force for neglecting the prevention of financing terrorism and money laundering. Turkey will be considered for an "international gray list" by the end of the one-year probation period.
Google has suspended licenses for the use of its software on Android smart phones sold in Turkey. The decision came in light of a fine imposed on Google by Turkey's Competition Board in September 2018 in the sum of 93 million TL. This process could culminate in the company completely withdrawing from Turkey, according to local media reports.
Turkey will import horse and donkey meat from Sudan as part of the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement that was approved in parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission last week. Some 500 tons of horse, donkey and mule meat, as well as 500 tons of animal giblets, including those of the aforementioned animals, will be imported from Sudan without Turkey implementing any customs tariffs.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has denied criticism regarding the budget not being spent for the public, saying that some 333,9 billion Turkish Liras are paid as salaries and social security premium payments for 3,4 million public employees. When asked about the reason for why the 853,8 billion lira tax revenue target that was determined for 2019 was not met, Albayrak pointed to tax rate discounts that were made to "support economic revival and the fight against inflation."
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman set a Feb. 10 hearing date for Turkey's Halkbank and ordered federal prosecutors to prepare by Jan. 3 possible penalties should the bank continue to ignore the sanctions evasions charges filed against it. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Oct. 15 charged the bank with taking party in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Turkey saw a 10.56 percent annual hike in consumer prices in November, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) said on Dec. 3. Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said "a little" increase took place, as he commented on the double-digit figures.
The United States is considering launching an investigation into digital services taxes of Turkey, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said.
According to a study conducted by a confederation of Turkish labor unions, overall expenses in October of this year increased by 36.9 percent. Meanwhile, the prices of electricity, natural gas, and fuel have risen by 60, 52, and 30 percent respectively. A lengthy list of prices increases concerning everything from food to furniture to electricity and fuel has weighed heavily upon shopkeepers.
The Turkish economy grew by 0.4 percent in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter on seasonal and calendar adjusted basis, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Dec. 2. Compared with the same quarter of 2018, the Turkish economy expanded by 0.9 percent, the agency said.
Car sales have dropped below the market expectations of 600 yearly sales, which might force dealerships to shrink operations or even close. As a result of the economic crisis, the industry average for yearly sales had dropped from 1 million to 620 thousand last year, and are expected to drop further to 470 thousand.
Morgan Stanley is reportedly investigating suspected mismarking of securities to conceal losses of as much as $140 million in a portfolio handled day-to-day by London-based Scott Eisner, a 2014 Yale University graduate and associate at the firm. The wager was claimed to be tied to the Turkish lira, a currency that whipsawed investors in 2018 and earlier in 2019 amid mounting political tensions.
U.S. federal prosecutors have opposed Halkbank's request to make a “special appearance” in the Southern District of New York court to fight the charges that it helped Iran evade sanctions. The Turkish state-owned bank submitted such a request to seek dismissal of the case without it having to formally accept and answer the charges.