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    World Bank sees Turk banks' bad loans rising

    Reuters
    28 Ekim 2008 - 17:02Son Güncelleme : 28 Ekim 2008 - 17:02

    The World Bank expects Turkish banks' non-performing loans rate to rise from 3.5 percent now as the global credit crunch hits its corporate sector, Country Director Ulrich Zachau said on Tuesday.

    Zachau told Reuters in an interview he expected Turkish economic growth to fall substantially in the second half of 2008 and next year compared to previous years' and added that a 4-percent growth projection for 2009 was optimistic.

    "As the credit crunch affects the private sector in Turkey, corporate businesses and especially small- and medium-sized businesses, we would expect non-performing loan ratios to go up somewhat, but they are still low," Zachau said.

    Turkey's economy has expanded 6.8 percent in the last six years but growth slowed to 1.9 percent in the second quarter of 2008 and Zachau said it would be hurt as companies' main export markets in Europe faced recession.

    "Economic growth will be significantly lower than it was anticipated earlier and was the case earlier," he said, adding that easing commodity prices would help Turkey meet a 7.5 percent inflation target for next year.

    The World Bank has agreed to extend $6.2 billion to Turkey under its country partnership strategy and plans to disburse $1.9 billion of this during the 2009 fiscal year.

    Continued, prudent fiscal policy and running primary budget surpluses will be crucial for Turkey to help protect its economy from the damage of the global financial crisis, Zachau said.

    He said its public sector situation was "completely manageable", with debt as a percentage of gross domestic product continuing to fall.

    He said the current account deficit would be Turkey's most important risk factor in the eyes of investors, but said he did not expect a financial meltdown in Turkey like the one that hit the country in 2001 and wiped out 10 percent of the economy.

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