Photo: Reuters/Murad Sezer
Turkish lira. Photo: Asia Times files, Reuters / Murad Sezer

Credit-fueled growth in consumption is driving the current account deficit to an unsustainable 5% of GDP, the Swiss bank argued in a report today, adding that the Turkish lira’s tailspin of the past month is likely to continue.

The Turkish currency traded at an all-time record low against the Euro, and close to a record low against the US dollar. Among its concerns about the Turkish economy and stock market, UBS cited high corporate leverage, high dependence on short-term borrowings by banks, and “waning relations with key trading partners.”

The Gulf states have been a major source of financing for Turkey through the short-term interbank lending market, but Turkey’s turn towards Iran and its backing for the Muslim Brotherhood are a major irritant for Saudi Arabia. It may not be coincidence that the Turkish currency nose-dived a week before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidated power and froze hundreds of billions of dollars of royal family assets.