Populism may sustain stock prices on the Istanbul stock exchange, despite the 45% gain in US dollar terms since the beginning of the year. Our logic is tethered to the view that President Erdogan is looking for a decisive victory in the November 2019 election. That vote seems like a distant prospect. The campaign, however, will inform ongoing fiscal stimulus, regardless of any attendant economic imbalances. Skeptics should take a closer look at Erdogan’s speech this week in the eastern Turkish city of Mus, commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert. The victory of the Seljuks over the Byzantines in 1071 paved the way for Muslim control over Anatolia. The speech was both populist fodder and a dramatic reminder of Erdogan’s nationalist agenda. Granted, economists may fret over domestic inflation figures, which in turn could lead to tighter monetary policy. But investors are likely to overlook those fundamentals in favor of a measured growth trajectory. One reason for that stance is the lackluster setting on other regional bourses, including the UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. ■
Our Vantage Point: We acknowledge that Turkish equities appear to be overbought. But our worst-case scenario calls for consolidation, rather than outright correction.
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Image: Diorama at the Istanbul Military Museum depicts the Manzikert battlefield. Credit: O. Mustafin at Wikimedia Commons.