Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/12/2012 -- BMI View: Figures for power consumption provide further evidence of an improved macroeconomic trajectory in Turkey. Though not out of the woods yet, the Turkish economy seems to have turned a corner, owing primarily to more welcoming external climate and monetary policy. This picture reinforces our view that Turkey will continue to outperform power markets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and prompted us to revise our forecasts for electricity consumption, with real year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of 7.9% forecast for 2012. However, we highlight that the lack of clarity in regards to the country's future electricity mix and the high cost of credit could present pertinent risks to the country's capacity expansion plans.
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Despite the fact that several of Turkey's economic challenges - including a significant current account deficit, elevated inflation and high cost of credit - have not dissipated, with various macro and sectorspecific indicators signalling that Turkey's economy is undergoing a gradual rebalancing. With more welcoming external climate and monetary policy brightening the picture, with a strong economic base having been established in the final months of 2011, BMI's country risk analysts have raised our 2012 real GDP growth forecast from 1.8% to 3.0%. Electricity consumption has decreased by less than was originally expected at the beginning of 2012, matched by only marginally lower growth in generation, which is expected to come in at 7.72% for 2012.
Turkey has strong potential, which is fully reflected in BMI's power risk/reward ratings for the CEE region, with Turkey's unchallenged first place showcasing its market appeal. That said, aside from the high cost of credit and lingering uncertainties regarding Turkey's currency (which introduce forex risks not only for developers, but also for foreign utilities in the country), we highlight that a lack of clarity in regards to the future electricity mix present some pertinent risks to the country's capacity expansion plans:
- High exposure to oil and gas prices has played a cardinal role in deepening Turkey's current account deficit. Despite a hefty gas-fired capacity pipeline, the country has advanced plans to boost the use of coal resources, suggesting that tenders for plants with five to six gigawatts of capacity could be opened. Although there has been support for the idea, we do not believe that significant investments will be made.
- Conversely, we keep the country's nuclear plans under close scrutiny. While several setbacks and delays have stalled the process, leading us to adopt an exceptionally cautious stance, we believe that growing international interest could play a key role in providing Turkey with both the technology and the capital necessary to realise its nuclear programme.
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