Turkey should focus on economic reforms, not credit ratings: Timothy Ash

Turkey should focus on economic reforms, not credit ratings: Timothy Ash

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkey should focus on economic reforms, not credit ratings: Timothy Ash

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Turkey should focus on making economic reforms and promoting its strengths rather than blaming credit rating agencies for unfair rates, Timothy Ash, a London-based strategist at Nomura International, said on Oct. 4.
“Rating agencies are never very popular. They do a difficult job. There are objective and subjective factors but in the end it is a matter of opinion,” Ash said in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency.        

“I don’t believe there is a conspiracy against Turkey by rating agencies. I think the more credible argument is that there is a problem in the rating agency’s methodology,” he added, stating that credit rating agencies’ rating cuts to non-investment grades did not reflect a “plot against Turkey.” 

The Turkish economy has proven unexpectedly resilient to shocks and the way to go forward is to maintain economic reforms and promote economic strengths more clearly to global investors, Ash said.    
“There should be much more credible economic reform programs and structural reforms. Economic reform should be a number one priority … Turkey should be selling itself externally as a good place to do business. Do everything possible to attract foreign [investment] to the country and trade, and show Turkey is open for business despite the July 15 [defeated coup],” he added.    
Ash suggested the economic performance of the country was “incredible” given tough recent circumstances.        
“If you went back to July 14 and asked anyone in the market where the Turkish Lira would be, where rates would be, where Turkish credit would be, if there was military intervention in Turkey. You would probably say 3.54 for the lira and rates over one hundred base points wider. It is incredible in my mind. The lira is around 3.01 and that is an absolutely remarkable performance,” Ash said.        

He also noted the turbulence took place in a rather fortunate period when global markets were flush with liquidity and central banks were still flooding the market with liquidity.    
“When you put the three things together - the failure of the coup, the strong underlying credit fundamentals, and the liquidity backdrop of global markets or energy markets - we see a pretty reassuring market performance,” Ash added.        

“You survived the July 15 coup, survived the rating downgrade, and the market reaction has been muted. Turkey can move on from this,” he noted.