Monday, April 27, 2009

EconNews Roundup

IMF chief DSK believes that Turkey and the Fund are close to an agreement- see my column for this week on more on this issue. Simsek has increased my confusion by stating that Turkey had submitted its program to the Fund and waiting to hear from them.

On a different note, I was surprised to learn that cabbies have been dealing with NPLs as well. This makes me wonder if minibuses and ferries have increased revenues as more people choose public transportation. Is there a switch from Migros and Tansas to BIM? Makes one yearn for more data.

1 comment:

David Lloyd said...

Dear Emre,

I have lived in Didim on the Aegean Coast of Turkey for 5 years, and I have been following your regular articles in the Hurriyet Newspaper with great interest. I also recently subscribed to your Economics web page.

I find your articles to be very enlightening and refreshingly unbiased. There does seem to be a significant amount of reporting in the Turkish press that has a political slant, and merely serves to present certain things favorably for the government.

The reason that I am contacting you today is to ask your opinion on an issue that I am very confused about!

The real estate market here in Didim is experiencing downside pressure from the economic crisis, as this is an area where a lot of British buyers have purchased over the last 5 years. I would estimate the amount of unsold properties to be over 20,000, for some reason many new buildings are still under construction even in the present climate!!

Last year I read that the title deeds office here in Didim was unable to transfer title deeds for property transactions between individuals, as all their manpower and time was being utilized working on behalf of the banks when they repossessed property from developers who had defaulted on their loans. The manager of the Deeds Office was quoted as saying that under Turkish law, they were obliged to prioritize the freezing of these assets on behalf of the banks.

This all seems perfectly reasonable and I can understand these actions. What I am increasingly confused about is what are the banks doing with these repossessed assets? They do not appear to be put back on the market in any volume anywhere in the resort. In your opinion, are the banks keeping these assets on their balance sheets at 'face value' or does 'mark to market' accounting apply here in Turkey ?

I would estimate that the property prices have decreased by about 25% in this resort from their 2007 peak, however it is very difficult to make an assessment as so few transactions are taking place to assist price discovery. Obviously, should the banks 'flood' the market with these properties; it would cause more downside on prices and further deteriorate their balance sheets.

I do know that some of these properties are changing hands between the banks, as a recent court case between a builder and a British buyer revealed that the tapu of the property in dispute had been transferred from the Is Bank to the Halk Bank.

I would be very grateful for your insight on this matter, although I realize you are very busy.

Coincidently, Tim Harford is another favorite source of insight to me.

I will look forward to your comments.

David Lloyd