Worrisome data out of the U.S. for retail sales and producer prices coupled with sell-offs in U.S. and European equity markets last week set the stage for triggering rumors of a suspension of any rate-hike discussions by the Federal Reserve. This news was partially confirmed Monday with comments from a high ranking Fed official dismissing any rate rises for at least the next six quarters, pushing any such increases back until March 2016. The fight for Kobani continues as Turkish officials have allowed the Kurdish peshmerga fighters to move into Syria to fight the ISIS terrorist group. Turkish financial markets continue to rally across the board on positive data as well as signs that the ISIS conflict has begun to swing in favor of the coalition fighting ISIS, of which Turkey is a major contributor.
Emerging financial markets applauded comments from a Fed president Monday, who remarked: "I am very uncomfortable with calls to raise our policy rate sooner rather than later, I favor delaying liftoff until I am more certain that we have sufficient momentum in place toward our policy goals." The comments were made by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans addressing the National Association for Business Economics. Evans' comments mean that emerging markets, including Turkey, will continue to enjoy more interest in their debt markets, lowering the cost of their financing and supporting their growth into developed markets. Any premature increase in interest rates in the United States would have drained much of the investment in Turkish bond markets at these rates. The central bank of Turkey would have likely raised its policy rates and the Turkish Treasury would have been forced to auction off bond issuances at higher interest rates.
As fighting continues to rage along Turkey's southern borders, a potential deepening of the global recession that has mostly left Turkey unaffected would have seen any premature policy rate hikes to be the impetus for the perfect storm for Turkish financial markets. Evans' comments that the Fed should "Err on the side of patience in removing a highly accommodative policy," were just what emerging markets were looking for as global markets jumped on the news.
The benchmark BIST-100 index was up well over 76,000 points late Monday as the index erased losses it had experienced in the last month. It had traded as low as 72,000 in the last two weeks.
In fixed income markets, bond investors continued to rejoice as the benchmark two-year government issue traded at a yield of 8.58 percent, down 120 basis points from its local high that it had reached only ten days ago. Any investor who bought into the market then would have experienced hefty gains as bond yields trade inversely with price, so any decrease in yields implies a higher price. The 10-year long-end bond also advanced significantly trading at a yield of 8.75 percent late Monday. The 10-year had traded as high as 9.20 near a week ago, meaning it too had seen an appreciation in its price.
The Turkish lira continued to rally against the U.S. dollar trading at 2.24 liras to 1 U.S. dollar. The lira had traded as low as 2.30 liras to the dollar in early October. The recent major drop in crude oil prices coupled with the strengthening of the lira will mean cheaper prices at the pump for Turkish drivers and manufacturers which should further the mini-rally Turkey is experiencing.
Insurance against political and economic instability measured by Credit-Default Swaps was cheaper for Turkish issuances with CDSs trading at 1.89 percent at midday Monday. CDSs had traded as high as 2.08 percent in early October when the Fed had first floated the idea of increasing the policy rate to over 1 percent by the end of 2015. It now appears there will be no increase in the next year.
The Central Registry Agency's (MKK) foreign participation in the Turkish equity markets index was down 30 basis points to 62.62 percent, although it had been lower last week, signaling a potential trough and turning point for the index as foreign investors return to markets with solid fundamentals and yield, a rare find in the world of investing these days.
The central bank of Turkey will announce policy rate decisions on Thursday and on Friday the government will release data on capacity utilization and manufacturers' confidence. The U.S. State Department announced that it had air-dropped arms and supplies over the weekend to fighters in Kobani that are fighting ISIS. It appears that the drop has helped fighters there turn the tide in that battle and that the advancement of ISIS is over.
Look for the central bank of Turkey to keep rates unchanged on Thursday until the Fed's delay of raising rates is more roundly confirmed. Any further news confirming further defeats of ISIS fighters will only help markets continue in their return to previous highs and may spur a rally to finish off the year at their peak.