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Turkey ETF at Risk as Moody’s Mulls Downgrade


After a widespread government corruption probe sent Turkish stocks and the related exchange traded fund reeling, Turkey’s credit rating is now under fire, with Moody’s Investors Service considering 10 banks for downgrades.

The iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (TUR) has declined 7.2% year-to-date and fell 33.9% over the past year.

Moody’s review includes Turkiye Garanti Bankasi and Turkiye Halk Bankasi, Bloomberg reports. The two banks make up 11.1% and 5.3% of TUR, respectively, and the ETF has a heavy 41% allocation toward the financial sector.

The ratings firm believes asset quality at the 10 banks is set to deteriorate with a slowing economy and rising inflation.

“We think downgrading Turkey would follow the possible banks’ downgrades,” Ayse Colak, head of research at Tera Brokers, said in the article. “Further downgrades are not priced in and would add to negative sentiment.”

Investment firms Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have lowered their outlook on Turkey after the central bank unexpectedly hiked rates in January in an attempt to promp up the depreciating lira and head off inflation. [Turkey ETF Vulnerable to External and Domestic Pressures]

Economists predict the Turkish economy will expand an average 2.3% over 2014, compared to calls for a 3.7% expansion at the end of 2013.

“There is significant downside risk to the growth forecast as the impact of the U.S. Fed tapering and the country’s political developments continue to unfold, potentially triggering further liquidity tightening and weakening of domestic demand,” Moody’s said.

While Turkey’s economy shows sign of weakness, it is highly irregular for a ratings firm to downgrade a country’s credit after raising it a year ago. Moody’s gave Turkey its first investment-grade rating in two decades in May , 2013, Bloomberg reported.

iShares MSCI Turkey ETF

For more information on Turkey, visit our Turkey category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.