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Turkey, an Energy Hub or drowned in Economical crisis?

Shahriar Sheikhlar

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Turkish Economy have experienced great developments during last six decades, more than most of countries around the world. Accelerating Turkish economic growth made mainly by export-led policy (after 1980) and the economical reforms (after 2003) when current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan started his role as PM.

Some of the achievements have been reached as a result of Turkey’s geopolitical position, where is a connection node between producers and consumers of energy and industrial goods and some could be awarded to the government’s plans, mainly for free international trade, developing tourism industry, privatization, earning income and accessing the chip energy sources via it’s energy transiting plans.

Turkish economic growth analysis in a glance

Turkish GDP was increased to $ 875.748 billion at 2016 where it was just $ 13.995 billion at 1960 (from worldbank.com), a wonderful raising by more than 60 times that is faster than world average but not enough uninterrupted to be compared with some pioneer economies such as Korea republic.

The sharpest rate of Turkish economical growth was experienced in 1970s decade (%223.08), mostly resulted by boosting governmental spending after 1971 military intervention. The biggest growth in amount was in 2010s decade that experienced increasing $ 411.92 billion during 6 years. Comparing Turkey’s achievement with Korea Republic’s shows lack of harmony and Continuity in Turkish economical growth, while Korea’s economy moved from $ 4.23 billion (32% of Turkish) in 1960s decade to $ 1,290 billion (1.48 of Turkish) in 2010s duration.

Main growth areas

Ruling party’s economical reforms, such as strong domestic consumption, cheap credit and large financial inflows, enhancing the flexibility of the labour market and boosting the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector through greater competition, could enhance it’s rank to world’s 17th in 2015.Some sectors are playing main role in this economic leap, such as Tourism while could attract more than 36 million tourists In 2015 that raised Turkey’s revenues to 31 billion USD per year (from: www.mfa.gov.tr), as well as Privatization that it’s earning was increased significantly from 8 billion USD in the period of 1986-2003 to 58 billion USD between 2004-2015 (from the same source). Turkish contracting services abroad have successfully completed 8693 projects in 107 countries across the globe between 1972-2015, with a total value of 276 billion USD between 2002-2015  (from the same source). As well as Turkish economy could host more than 46,000 foreign active firms and 916 liaison offices of foreign firms, as well as the total amount of foreign direct investments exceeded 165 billion USD as of the end of 2015.

The same sharp raising could be traced in Turkey’s foreign trade during last decades, too, when Turkey’s export was raised to $142.53 billion at 2016 from $12.96 billion at 1990 (%1100) that is sharper than growth in it’s importing, where it was changed from $22.30 billion to $198.62 billion during the same period of time (%891) but the balance of Turkey’s trade is negative yet and extended to $56.09 billion.

An Energy Hub

Turkey’s plan for rolling as the hub of energy between main producers in middle east, Caspian and Russia to main customers in Europe entered to a new phase by signing the Turkish Stream contract with Russia in 2014. Now 4 operating natural gas pipelines through Turkey with capacity of more than 2.3 Tcf are supplying Turkey’s demand and transiting gas to the Europe customers. Also 3 projects in the construction phase and 3 new proposed projects with total capacity of more than 4.8 Tcf could make Turkey one of the main Energy transiting hubs in the world that could powering it’s geopolitical plans as well as giving significant economical advantages.

As well as, 3 Crude oil pipelines from Baku, Kirkuk (Iraq) and Kurdistan Government of Iraq with capacity of more than 3.4 million barrels of oil per day are transiting Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Iraq’s crude oil to/via Turkey. Turkey’s Ceyhan oil port covers 1.44 sq.km, storage capacity of about 7 million barrels of oil and annual export capacity of more than 50 million tones of oil annually (from: bp.com).

Increasing demands in European countries for energy carriers, mainly the natural gas as a cleaner and chipper product and on the other the natural gas producers’ need for chipper and operational solution to reach the Europe market, make Turkish ways more highlighted and Turkey’s governments are trying to catch this opportunity, economically and politically.

Transiting 7.1 Tcf of natural gas and 3.4 million barrels of oil could make Turkey one of the main energy transition hubs around the world that not only make significant economical benefits but also could support it’s political plans such as accession of Turkey to the European Union, the desire is sometimes closed and sometime far.

Turkey’s in economical crisis

Despite all the longterm growth in indictors, Turkey’s economy is facing new crisis during last 3 years, especially after some internal clashes and tensions with with Russia, united states and European countries. Turkish Liras’ exchange rate to foreign currencies is dropped sharply and reached to 3.88 to USD (at 2017, December) from 1.8 in 2012 (less than half, just during 5 years).

Also inflation rate is raised to more than % 10.9 at 2017, when it was decreased to 7.7% at 2015 (from IMF).

The GDP per capita that was raised to about $ 12,500 at 2013 is declined again to $ 10,800 at 2016 for three consequently years (the same level at 2008).

The situation in some other indicators such as “population below poverty line” are showing more shortages or crisis, when it was raised to more than %21 at 2016.

Continuing this conditions could abduct the chances of improvements for Turkish government and people while it’s most needed for both to hold over the dreams.

Future of Turkey’s economy – Short term provision

The short term provisions of Turkish economy are not optimistic enough, especially after several diplomatic and economical clashes between Turkey and it’s main partners during last  three years.

Russia imposed sanctions against Turkey at 2015, November that affected Turkish economy quickly but it couldn’t get rid of them even after 7 months of removing most of these sanctions.

Turkey – Russia clashes on downing of a Russian fighter jet in 2015 led to sanctions

Turkish economy that has been affected quickly by sanctions imposed by Russia (at 2015, November) doesn’t get rid of them completely, even after more than 7 months of easing tensions and lifting the most of sanctions. In the case of removing all Russian sanctions, it couldn’t bring relief to Turkey’s struggling economy as it’s faced to a bigger crisis arising by political clashes with European countries, especially Netherland, Germany and Belgium and next with USA.

Furthermore, effects of internal clashes (especially after failed coup in 2016) and hosting million refugees from Syrian internal war made the Turkey’s economy battered which was one of the best – performing until 2014.

The Turkey’s economy could experience new small growths by easing the internal and international conflicts before next elections on 2019 but not as was before 2014.

Now it’s time for Turkey to select it’s ambitious plans for being one of the main energy hubs in the world that could affect on global energy markets and having rapid growing economies or drowned in diverse economical crisis.

Independent Energy Economy Analyst and Energy Development Consultant Managing Director of ARDO Consultancy center http://ardoconsultancy.co/

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Economy

3 trends that can stimulate small business growth

MD Staff

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Small businesses are far more influential than most people may realize.

That influence is felt well beyond Main Street. Small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all businesses in the U.S., and these firms employ nearly half (48 percent) the workforce, according to the 2018 Small Business Profile compiled by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In addition, take a look at recent trends and developments in technology. It’s clear that these changes can give entrepreneurs that extra leverage to scale up. Here are three to consider.

Big companies have big opportunities for small firms

Back in the 20th century, a large company would get things done in this very straightforward way. Wherever there was a need, they hired someone directly to perform that task, whether it was a driver or an accountant.

Under today’s leaner models, these big companies are finding it’s much more efficient to partner with other firms to fulfill certain needs. According to Deloitte, 31 percent of IT services have been outsourced, as well as 32 percent of human resources. This increasing acceptance of outsourcing is a huge growth opportunity for small businesses owners.

For example, Amazon recently announced it is actively seeking and helping entrepreneurs who are willing to deliver packages as their contractors. The mega retailer will even go as far as helping with startup costs so long as these smaller firms deliver their packages. Landing a contract with a big corporation is a significant milestone for any company, but starting out with that lucrative contract is sure to let these startups hit the ground running.

Better connections for greater flexibility

When today’s entrepreneur has a new role to fill, they’re not confined to the talent pool in their immediate community. Because we now have the tools and connectivity to work from anywhere, a business owner can expand the search across multiple states!

What’s more, these flexible, work from anywhere options can give business owners the inspiration to do things differently. Having greater collaboration means having access to more options to fit specific needs.

For example, what is the very nature of being a small business owner? It’s dealing with a fluctuating volume of work. Tapping into the talent pool of freelancers to work on these specific, short-term tasks and projects is easier than ever, because for a segment of workers, freelancing is increasingly becoming a way of life. Freelancers currently make up 36 percent of the workforce, according to a study from Upwork. And, if trends maintain, most Americans will be freelancers by 2027.

Thanks to remote options with easy access to talent, small businesses can easily set up temporary or ongoing as-needed work arrangements. When you partner with Dell for your computing needs, you’ll get the expert help and support so you can set up the perfect flexible workspace system.

More automation brings better efficiencies

Without a doubt, new technology works in favor of small businesses and entrepreneurs because they have many tools at their disposal to automate labor intensive processes, be more productive and cut costs. For example, entrepreneurs can use software to process client payments and even set up automated payments, saving hours and costs associated with collecting, processing and reconciling under the traditional paper check payment system. That translates into a more efficient billing department that can spend more time focused on complex issues.

Let Dell equip your small business with the right tech tools, tailor made for your venture and backed with support, so you can focus on running your business.

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Economy

Transitioning from least developed country status: Are countries better off?

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The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are an internationally defined group of highly vulnerable and structurally constrained economies with extreme levels of poverty. Since the category was created in 1971, on the basis of selected vulnerability indicators, only five countries have graduated and the number of LDCs has doubled.  One would intuitively have thought that graduation from LDC status would be something that all LDCs would want to achieve since it seems to suggest that transitioning countries are likely to benefit from increased economic growth, improved human development and reduced susceptibility to natural disasters and trade shocks.

However, when countries graduate they lose international support measures (ISMs) provided by the international community. There is no established institutional mechanism for the phasing out of LDC country-specific benefits. As a result, entities such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund may not always be able to support a country’s smooth transition process.

Currently, 14 out of 53 members of the Commonwealth are classified as LDCs and the number is likely to reduce as Bangladesh, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu transition from LDC status by 2021. The three criteria used to assess LDC transition are: Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI), Human Assets Index (HAI) and Gross National Income per capita (GNI).  Many of the forthcoming LDC graduates will transition based only on their GNI.  This GNI level is normally set at US $ 1,230 but if the GNI reaches twice this level at US $ 2,460 a country can graduate.

So what’s the issue?  A recent Commonwealth – Trade Hot Topic publication confirms that most countries graduate only on the basis of their GNI, some of which have not attained significant improvements in human development (HAI) and even more of which fall below the graduation threshold for economic development due to persistent vulnerabilities (EVI).  This latter aspect raises the question as to whether transitioning countries will, actually, be better off after they graduate.

Given the loss of ISMs and the persistent economic vulnerabilities of many LDCs, it is no surprise that some countries are actually seeking to delay graduation, Kiribati and Tuvalu being two such Commonwealth countries despite easily surpassing twice the GNI threshold for graduation.

How is it possible that a country can achieve economic growth but not have appreciable improvements in resilience to economic vulnerability?  Based on a statistical analysis discussed in the Trade Hot Topic paper, a regression model, based on all forty-seven LDCs, was produced.  The model revealed that there was no statistically significant relationship between economic vulnerability and gross national income per capita.  The analysis was repeated just for Commonwealth countries and similar results were obtained.

Most importantly, analysis revealed that there was a positive relationship between GNI and EVI. In other words, increases in wealth (using GNI as a proxy) is likely to result in an increase in economic vulnerability.  This latter result is counterintuitive since one would expect more wealth to result in less economic vulnerability.

So what’s the take away?

The statistical results do not necessarily imply that improving the factors affecting economic vulnerability cannot result in improvements to economic prosperity.  It does suggest, however, that either insufficient efforts have gone into effecting such improvements or that there are natural limits to the extent to which such improvements can be effected.

One thing is clear, the multilateral lending agencies should revisit the removal of measures supporting climate change or other vulnerabilities for LDCs on graduation, since the empirical evidence suggests that countries could fall back into LDC status or stagnate and be unable to achieve sustainable development. Whilst transitioning from LDC status should be desirable, it should not be an end in itself. Rather than to transition and remain extremely vulnerable, countries should be resistant to such change or continue to receive more targeted support until vulnerabilities are reduced to more acceptable levels.

What are your thoughts?

Commonwealth

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Economy

U.S. policy and the Turkish Economic Crisis: Lessons for Pakistan

M Waqas Jan

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Over the last week, the Turkish Lira has been dominating headlines the world over as the currency continues to plunge against the US dollar. Currently at the dead center of a series of verbal ripostes between Presidents Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the rapidly depreciating Lira has taken center stage amidst deteriorating US-Turkey relations that are wreaking havoc across international financial markets. Considering Pakistan’s current economic predicament, the events unfolding in Turkey offer important lessons to the dangers of unsustainable and unrealistic economic policies, within a dramatically changing international scenario. This holds particular importance for Pak-US relations within the context of the impending IMF bailout.

In his most recent statements, Mr. Erdogan has attributed his economy’s dire state of affairs as an ‘Economic War’ being waged against it by the United States. President Trump too has made it evident that the latest rounds of US sanctions that have been placed on Turkey are directly linked to its dissatisfaction with Ankara for detaining American Pastor Andrew Brunson. Mr Bruson along with dozens of others has been charged with terrorism and espionage for his purported links to the 2016 attempted coup against President Erdogan and his government.  There is thus a modicum of truth to Mr. Erdogan’s claims that the US sanctions are in fact, being used as leverage against the weakening Lira and the Turkish economy as part of a broader US policy.

However, to say that the latest US sanctions alone are the sole cause of Turkey’s economic woes is a gross understatement. The Lira has for some time remained the worst performing currency in the world; losing half of its value in a year, and dropping by another 20% in just the last week. Just to put the scale of this loss in to perspective, the embattled currency was trading at about 2 Liras to the dollar in mid-2014. The day before yesterday, it was trading at about 7 Liras to the dollar.

While the Pakistani Rupee has also depreciated quite considerably over the last few months, its recent drop (-17% against the dollar over the past 12 months) pales in comparison to the sustained and exponential downfall of the Lira. Yet, both the Turkish and Pakistani economies are at a point where they are experiencing an alarming dearth of foreign exchange reserves that have in turn dramatically increased their international debt obligations.

The ongoing financial crises in both Turkey and Pakistan are similar to the extent that both countries have pursued unsustainable economic policies for the last few years. These have been centered on increased borrowing on the back of overvalued currencies. While this approach had allowed both governments to finance a series of government investments in various projects, the long term implications of this accumulating debt has now caught up with them dramatically. As a result, both countries may soon desperately require IMF assistance; assistance, that in recent times, has become even more overtly conditional on meeting certain US foreign policy requirements.

In the case of Pakistan, these objectives may coincide with recent US pressures to ‘do more’ regarding the Haqqani network; or a deeper examination of the scale and viability of the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor. With regards to the latter, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has clearly stated that American Dollars, in the form of IMF funds, to Pakistan should not be used to bailout Chinese investors. The rationale being that a cash-strapped Pakistan is more likely to adversely affect Chinese interests as opposed to US interests in the region at the present. The politics behind the ongoing US-China trade war add even further relevance to this argument.

In the case of Turkey however, which is a major NATO ally, an important emerging market, and a deeply integrated part of the European financial system, there is a lot more at stake in terms of US interests. Turkey’s main lenders comprise largely of Spanish, French and Italian banks whose exposure to the Lira has caused a drastic knock on effect on the Euro. The ensuing uncertainty and volatility that has arisen is likely to prove detrimental to the US’s allies in the EU as well as in key emerging markets across South America, Africa and Asia. This marks the latest example of the US’s departure from maintaining and ensuring the health of the global financial system, as a leading economic power.

Yet, what’s even more unsettling is the fact that while the US is wholly cognizant of these wide-ranging impacts, it remains unfazed in pursuing its unilateral objectives. This is perhaps most evident in the diminishing sanctity of the NATO alliance as a direct outcome of these actions.  After the US, Turkey is the second biggest contributor of troops within the NATO framework. As relations between both members continue to deteriorate, Turkey has been more inclined to gravitate towards expanding Russian influence. In effect, contributing to the very anti-thesis of the NATO alliance. The recent dialogues between Presidents Erdogan and Putin, in the wake of US sanctions point markedly towards this dramatic shift.

Based on the above, it has become increasingly evident that US actions have come to stand in direct contrast to the Post-Cold War status quo, which it had itself help set up and maintain over the last three decades. It is rather, the US’s unilateral interests that have now taken increasing precedence over its commitments and leadership of major multilateral frameworks such as the NATO, and the Bretton Woods institutions. This approach while allowing greater flexibility to the US has however come at the cost of ceding space to a fast rising China and an increasingly assertive Russia. The acceleration of both Pak-China and Russo-Turkish cooperation present poignant examples of these developments.

However, while it remains unclear as to how much international influence US policy-makers are willing to cede to the likes of China and Russia over the long-term, their actions have made it clear that US policy and the pursuit of its unilateral objectives would no longer be made hostage to the Geo-Politics of key regions. These include key states at the cross-roads of the world’s potential flash-points such as Turkey and Pakistan.

Therefore, both Turkey and Pakistan would be well advised to factor in these reasons behind the US’s disinterest in their economic and financial predicaments. Especially since both Russia and China are still quite a way from being able to completely supplant the US’s financial and military influence across the world; perhaps a greater modicum of self-sufficiency and sustainability is in order to weather through these shifting dynamics.

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