The Turkish economy probably expanded by 2.3 percent last year, making it one of the few countries to post growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Reuters poll published on Thursday.
The economy may have grown by an annual 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter alone, the median estimate of 11 economists showed. The Turkish Statistical Institute is due to publish the figures on March 1.
Turkey’s government encouraged the central bank to keep interest rates below inflation for much of last year to engineer a borrowing boom, spurred on by lending by state-run banks. But the stimulus pushed the lira to successive record lows against the dollar, prompting a newly installed central bank governor to hike rates sharply from November.
Gross domestic product expanded by an annual 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020 before contracting by 9.9 percent in the three months to June. It recovered to post growth of 6.7 percent in the third quarter of the year.
This week, ratings agency Moody’s predicted that Turkey’s economy would grow by 4 percent in 2021, raising its estimate from a previous 3.5 percent. Fitch forecast growth of 5.7 percent in 2021 in a report last week.
On Feb. 18, the central bank said economic activity was on a strong course, helped by strengthening domestic demand due to the cumulative effects of high credit growth. It pledged to keep interest rates elevated this year to help rein in annual inflation of 15 percent.