COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Durov rejects Western funds’ offer to buy 5%-10% of Telegram with $30bn valuation
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
Akbank takes over Istanbul's Palladium Atasehir shopping mall
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
Armenia prepares to ban Turkish imports
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
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Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
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Credit card and debit card payments in Turkey slightly declined to a value of TRY20.1bn ($2.9bn) in the country’s fourth ‘post-lockdown’ week (ending June 26) from TRY21.2bn a week ago, according to latest data from the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT).
Turkey officially confirmed its first coronavirus (COVID-19) case on March 11 and TRY21.3bn was recorded in the week ending March 13 when COVID-19-driven stockpiling occurred.
However, initial measures to curb the virus outbreak only arrived with a two-week lag.
As a result, the first impact of the health and economic emergency on card payments — a sign of real consumption in the country — was felt in the week ending March 27 when the total value of such transactions fell sharply to TRY13.5bn.
The lowest volume was registered in the week ending April 24 at TRY13bn.
Turkey reopened restaurants and beaches and ended travel restrictions on June 1 after reopening shopping malls on May 11.
In April, the government launched a campaign to delay repayments on credit card and other bank debts for a three-month period. Private lenders have joined the state lenders in conforming with this.
The impact of the delayed repayments on consumer spending is awaited. New delays on top of already delayed repayments could weigh on private lenders’ moribund hopes for profitability.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak stated on April 12 that state lenders had postponed TRY60bn worth of loan and credit card debt repayments, while he called on private banks to also offer delays. Eventually, they did.
In April, 38,000 Turks used a credit card for the first time. There were 71mn credit cards and 168mn bank cards in the country of 83mn people as of end-March, according to latest data from the Interbank Card Center (BKM).
Household consumption in Turkey in the first quarter stood at TRY610bn, or 57% of overall GDP, in current prices. Card payments amounted to TRY249bn, equivalent to 41% of household consumption in official GDP.
In the recorded second quarter to date (from April 1 to June 26), card payments totalled TRY217bn, the lowest figure since Q1 2019. The remaining four days are awaited for ascertaining the overall Q2 2020 figure.
Foreigners’ card expenditures in Turkey amounted to TRY21bn in Q1, according to data by the Interbank Card Centre (BKM). The figure stood at TRY119bn in 2019.
Higher card transaction volumes could also be a sign of inflation.
As of June 26, the credit card debt stock of consumers rose to TRY113bn from TRY110bn in the previous week, according to separate data from banking watchdog BDDK. The figure stood at TRY103bn as of May 15.
The volume of consumer loans extended by Turkish banks also moved up to stand at TRY578bn in the week ending June 26 from TRY565bn a week earlier. The figure stood at TRY465bn at end-2019.
Housing loans jumped to TRY231bn as of June 26 from TRY223bn a week ago (TRY212bn as of June 5) while car loans inched up to TRY8.3bn from TRY8bn.
In June, vehicle sales in Turkey jumped, as expected, by 66% y/y to 70,973 units, highest level since December, after contracting 15% y/y and 2% y/y in April and May, respectively, according to data from the Automotive Distributers Association (ODD).
Significant jumps in home and white goods sales are also expected in the month thanks to the latest cheap consumer credit campaigns that were launched at the beginning of June.
BDDK also reported that the total Turkish lira loan volume climbed to TRY2.1 trillion as of June 26 from TRY2.07 trillion from the previous week. At the end of 2019, total lira loans volume was TRY1.68 trillion.
Commercial loans, on the other hand, slightly rose to TRY1.41 trillion from TRY1.39 trillion. The figure stood at TRY1.08bn at end-2019.
Weighted average interest rate on consumer loans fell to 12.87% as of June 26 from 12.93% a week ago (8.27% as of April 24 and 16.1% as of April 3) while mortgage loan rates fell to 9.01% from 9.06% and commercial loan rates fell to 9.8% from 9.99%.
Official CPI inflation slightly rose to 12.6% in June from 11.4% in May.
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