Turkish Financial markets have been quiet this week, on holiday until today reopening for an abbreviated two-day trading week. The Eid ul-Fitr holiday will give investors a chance to catch their breath after an incredible week of high-flying gains across the board.
The benchmark BIST-100 equity index has continued to trade higher now, up over 27 percent for the year standing at 84,218 points. The index has been up over three percent in the last week alone as investors become more convinced that Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdoğan has clinched the presidency. The first ever public-election of a Turkish president will take place in less than two weeks on Aug. 10 and investors are looking for any signs of a surprise in the outcome. The latest polls released recently show Erdoğan leading with 55 percent, against 38 percent and 7 percent, the latter percentages being for those in favor of the "opposition" candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and the leader of the "pro-Kurdish" party, Selahattin Demirtaş.
Bond markets continue to rally as both the two-year benchmark bond and the long-end 10-year bond saw prices increase as their yields continued to fall. The two-year traded at 8.03 percent, down four basis points from a week ago when it traded at 8.07 percent. The longend bond saw its yields continue to trade lower as the issuance rallied, down to 8.64 percent from 8.73 where I traded last week.
Insurance against political and economic instability, as Credit Default Swaps (CDSs) are sometimes termed, also became much cheaper, trading at 1.74 percent, down nine basis points from a week ago. Expect these numbers to decrease as turmoil in the region subsides. Currently the Russian-Ukrainian, Iraq-ISIS, and Palestinian-Israel conflicts all are weighing down the prospects of the region and with their resolution, we should see CDS numbers come down even further. Currently Turkey is considered "safer" than many European countries including Eurozone member Portugal, whose CDSs trade at 1.82 percent.
The U.S. dollar was up against the Turkish lira, trading at 2.1052 liras to the dollar. The lira has continued to appreciate since the parliamentary elections held in March. The Central Registry Agency's (MKK) "Foreign Participation in Turkish Equity Markets Index" continued to increase, currently standing at 64.32 percent, up two basis points from last Monday. There appears to be consensus among foreign investors that there will not be any surprises in the presidential election and that political stability will continue in the country.
The Iraqi government in Baghdad has asked U.S. courts to order the seizure of a large oil tanker in the process of offloading $100 million in crude oil at the American port of Galveston, Texas. At present, U.S. courts have not made any decisions and the port authorities have stated that all documentation is legitimate and that they have no reason to stop the offloading of the oil at present. Any ruling against the transfer of the oil would hurt Turkish markets as Turkey is the conduit used to deliver this oil to world markets and Turkey would stand to lose this position should this shipment be held up.
Ahead of the Turkish elections, widespread disenfranchisement has taken hold among opposition parties and they appear to have accepted defeat with little or no campaigning being done by the opposition's candidate. No major counterproposals or alternatives to Erdoğan's major infrastructure projects have been unveiled, leaving voters with little incentive to vote for the opposition. After careful analysis, I believe Prime Minister Erdoğan will pull-off a landslide victory with 61 percent of the vote, to İhsanoğlu's 34 percent, and Demirtaş's 5 percent.