Turkey's FDI supremo: Fitch's rating for Turkey likely to go unscathed

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 17.08.2016 20:41
Updated 18.08.2016 09:49
ISPAT President Arda Ermut
ISPAT President Arda Ermut

Turkey's FDI hunter Arda Ermut said that it is 'highly likely' Fitch will not change Turkey's credit note and outlook, adding that it will likely prefer to adopt the ‘wait and see' approach

Arda Ermut, president of the Prime Ministry's Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT), said law amendments regarding the private pension system and investment incentives would be closely monitored by Fitch, taking more time to measure the possible effects of the coup attempt and determine its outcome on Turkey's credit rating.

Turkey's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) hunter said Fitch is likely to confirm Turkey's rating by announcing a positive decision tomorrow. Last February the Fitch Credit Rating Agency confirmed Turkey's long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings as "BBB-" and "BBB" respectively, with a stable outlook.

The long-term credit ratings at Fitch are assigned on an alphabetic scale from "AAA" to "D" with the use of +/− modifiers for each category between AA and CCC. The "BBB" investment grade is defined as middle class and an acceptable risk.

"The issue ratings on Turkey's senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds have also been affirmed at 'BBB-' and 'BBB' respectively, while the country ceiling has been affirmed at 'BBB' and the short-term foreign currency at 'F3,'"Fitch said in its statement in February.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, ISPAT President Ermut said that Fitch was the first international credit rating agency to have upgraded Turkey's credit rating to an investable level, in November 2012.

Pointing out that Turkey's foreign currency issuer bonds had remained below the investable level from 1994 to 2012, Ermut said the elements that Fitch considered in upgrading Turkey's rating in 2012 were the decrease in Turkey's debt burden, the strong and operational financial system, positive growth expectations and diversity in economic resources.

Recalling that Fitch made an earlier announcement in February 2016 stating that Turkey preserved its credit rating and outlook, Ermut said Fitch's decision is based on that fact that Turkey preserved its financial discipline despite the jet crisis with Russia and the ongoing conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

At that time, the agency said the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) election win has "eased domestic political uncertainty."

"Now, neither us nor Fitch will ignore the coup attempt but it is necessary to state that Turkey has preserved its fiscal discipline and that there are positive expectations on growth," he said.

He underlined that the recently passed law to bring in new incentives for investments, along with regulations on individual retirement plans, are among the developments that Fitch said it will follow.

A law that supports improving the investment climate in Turkey by amending certain regulations was published in the Official Gazette on Aug. 9, 2016, and became enforced.

The law encompasses 79 articles; 47 of which are related to tax regulations. The most significant amendments include investment incentives, incentives for service exports, incentives for regional management centers, transfer of pricing regulations, exemption for industrial property rights, incentives for energy savings projects and exemptions on stamp taxes, in certain cases.

He emphasized that Fitch will take all these developments into consideration.

'Economic costs of coup controllable'

Ermut asserted that even though the coup plot will incur costs on the Turkish economy, "Since Turkey has built its foundation on a solid economy since 2002 and diversified its resources, this cost will be controllable."

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