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An Illusion Built On Cheap Credit

A weekend topic starting with Ahval News on Turkey. “An event entitled The End of Democracy? The ‘New Turkey’ and a Region in Flux,’ took place in on Sept. 24, as a part of the Labour Party’s 2018 conference in Liverpool. Following the full speech which was delivered by Ayşe Zarakol, the distinguished academic from Cambridge University.”

“What I am going to argue instead is that Erdoğan and the AKP have ridden what was until now a very fortuitous wave of international factors, and Turkey’s upward and downward political trajectory in the 21st century cannot be understood except by paying careful attention to these global dynamics.”

“You might be familiar with the term ‘irrational exuberance’, referring to market behaviour, used to explain overvaluation behind the economic bubbles such as the dot-com bubble of the 1990s or the housing bubble of the mid-noughts in the U.S.”

“What I am thus suggesting is that Erdoğan, his party, the AKP and by extension Turkey as a country, was at the receiving end of such a moment of ‘irrational exuberance’ in the global system, in other words, an overvaluation by international political and economic actors in especially the first decade of the 21st century. Without this ‘irrational exuberance’, Erdoğan could not have consolidated the current power he has.”

“Between 2008-2013 especially Turkey was chief among a group of so-called ‘rising power’ countries that benefited from this availability. Thanks partly to the magic of PR and marketing, in this period Turkey had branded itself successfully as a second-tier, but certainly up and coming, BRIC country.”

“In this low-interest international environment Turkish banks (state and private) liberally borrowed money; there seemed to be no limits to how much you could borrow. In the meantime, the AKP government announced bid-after-bid of giant public-private hybrid infrastructure projects, the private part of which were almost always awarded to businessmen with AKP ties, and whose bids were also underwritten by state bank loans resting on the same cheap international credit.”

“Shopping malls helped fill the leisure hours of this new lower middle class. All in all these developments, generally created the impression of an erstwhile developing country just on the verge of take off. In the meantime, actual manufacturing holdings of the state were privatised and/or stripped for real estate value, and domestic agriculture was increasingly overtaken by imports.”

“In other words, not all but much of the economic growth of Turkey was an illusion built on cheap credit unsustainable in the long run. These days, the Turkish economy is coming face to face with the reality that it was built on a house of cards.”

“In the summer of 2013 the bubble of Western ‘irrational exuberance’ about Turkey was punctured, if not entirely deflated. Since then the bubble has been letting off steam at an ever-growing pace, though Erdoğan has played a decent hand of the cards he had left.”

“If there is one big conclusion to be drawn from all of this, it is that it no longer makes sense – if it ever did – to think of the West and the rest as separate, independent entities with their own separate fates and futures. What happens in Washington, London, Paris etc. has unforeseen consequences for Ankara, Rio, Delhi and vice versa.”

From the BusinessMirror on the Philippines. “A price bubble is seen emerging in real-estate transactions in the country’s booming cities. A local economist has warned this may develop into a heating of local economies leading to pocket economic crisis.”

“‘Prices of lands and other real-estate properties are becoming runaway. Price bubbles are forming in this sector right now,’ said Adrian Tamayo, of the government’s socioeconomic planning unit for Mindanao, the Mindanao Development Authority.”

“He said the bubble could be as big as ‘100 percent,’ or what he referred to as the price already at the level of speculation ‘that is several folds higher than the market price.’ ‘The negotiation price is much beyond the observed increase of land prices, which have ballooned to 50 percent or 75 percent than the publicly known rates,’ he said.”

“The BusinessMirror found out that in the Island Garden City of Samal, where Mayor Sara Duterte announced she was pursuing a bridge project, what used to sell at P100,000 per 100 square meter (sq m) residential area was now P1 million, rising 1,000 percent. Along its beach side, the price was 70 percent to 80 percent higher.”

“Here in Davao City, the northern suburb of Bajada, with a row of shopping malls, an area almost 1 hectare was then tagged at a price of P20,000 to P25,000 per sq m only five years ago. Now it is selling at P80,000 per sq m.”

“In the southern suburb of Bangkal, where a Jesuit-ran school was finishing the construction of its senior high-school campus in a 5-hectare area, the owner was selling it then at P10,000 to P12,000 per sq m. Right now, the surrounding areas are selling their lots for as much as P100,000.”

“‘That’s what the public only knew of the current prices. But in the negotiations, the prices could still double,’ Tamayo said, adding this may be used by scrupulous speculators to spike further the prices and keep investors discouraged.”

“Price bubbles were the indicators of global economic crisis, such as the Asian financial meltdown in 1997 and the global recession in 2008, and were directly related to the real-estate mortgage activities.”

From The Guardian on Nigeria. “Caught in the middle of harsh economic realities, the nation’s real estate sector is witnessing a worrisome trend as developers and investors continue to bow to market forces, thereby reducing the quality of housing deliveries.”

“The Guardian gathered that the situation is getting worse with the continuous slump of Naira amongst other currencies, which made imported building materials costlier. In some cases, developers, who started the project when the dollar rate were low are caught in the web with rising overheads.”

“First Vice President of Nigeria Institute of Builders (NIOB), Kunle Awobodu, said the situation is worrisome and needed urgent intervention. According to him, what actually determines the market forces in the sector is the demand and supply.”

“‘When you juxtapose the demand for houses or for buildings being constructed or have been constructed with the supply, you will see currently that the demand is not equated with supply. Demand has depreciated because of the economic situation. So those who are constructing buildings for sale may have many buildings that are in the market that are unsold for a very long time,’ he said.”

“He added, ‘So there is a glut. As a developer, when you see a reduced demand for your projects, there is a tendency for you to lower the price so that it will be affordable for potential buyers. In the process of lowering the cost of production, quality is compromised.'”

“That is what is happening all over, in Lekki, Abuja and different parts of the country, where construction of homes are going on now.”

This Post Has 26 Comments
  1. ‘what used to sell at P100,000 per 100 square meter (sq m) residential area was now P1 million, rising 1,000 percent. Along its beach side, the price was 70 percent to 80 percent higher’

    What do you think, soft landing?

  2. ‘In other words, not all but much of the economic growth of Turkey was an illusion built on cheap credit unsustainable in the long run. These days, the Turkish economy is coming face to face with the reality that it was built on a house of cards’

    This is what I think when I see an entire multi-family industry operating at break even or less. Or outfits like Uber. Does it matter if they change their business model every six months while they lose money hand over fist? What is it now, flying taxis? And Bitcoin! That these things even exist is the same fake reality too much fake money produces. If I’m right, it will seem obvious when it blows up.

    1. Cheap and easy money + lowering of standards + ignoring GAAP = lots of insane bubbles and bankrupt companies that keep going and going

  3. Conservatives and more than happy to live under than same laws and taxes they want for everyone else.

    Liberals/progressives expect to exempted from the same laws and taxes they want for everyone else.

    +++++

    Real Estate Experts Say Prizker’s Toilet Troubles Could Be Criminal
    The Washington Free Beacon | Oct. 07, 2018 | Cole Lauterbach

    Real estate experts say J.B. Pritzker, Democrat candidate for Illinois governor, may have some serious legal problems stemming from a leaked report outlining how he allegedly manipulated Cook County’s tax system to lower his property tax bill.

    The leaked report from Cook County’s top watchdog revisits how the Chicago billionaire got tax breaks totaling more than $300,000 by ripping out the toilets and altering other parts of one of his Gold Coast mansions shortly before having it deemed uninhabitable by a private appraiser.

  4. They got stucco and Chinese drywall put up by illegals in Nigeria too?

    +++

    “He added, ‘So there is a glut. As a developer, when you see a reduced demand for your projects, there is a tendency for you to lower the price so that it will be affordable for potential buyers. In the process of lowering the cost of production, quality is compromised.’”

  5. From Friday’s desk clearing post:

    “In the last 48 hours four Turkish construction giants with decades – in one case a half-century – of history have filed for bankruptcy protection. These were Palet Construction, a firm founded 52 years ago, Ceylan and Nuhoğlu, each more than 30 years in the business, and Nafia.”

    “Ali Babacan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s longest-serving deputy prime minister for economic and financial affairs, gave the plainest description of the problematic period faced by the construction sector in a searing piece of self-criticism in 2014, before leaving the party.”

    “‘Without producing anything ourselves, without earning it, we are using credit secured from abroad for luxury construction projects, shopping malls, luxury accommodation … before long this is going to land Turkey in trouble,’ said Babacan.”

    http://housingbubble.blog/?p=169

    1. And this conference:

      ‘An event entitled The End of Democracy? The ‘New Turkey’ and a Region in Flux’

      These writers make a good case that if not for the artificial global boom, Turkey wouldn’t be in the economic and political situation it is today. He mentions Brexit too. And the BRIC’s – what happened to them? DONG – Brazil, knocked down to size by the real estate bubble and the end of China QE/commodity bubble.

      I recently posted a Washington Post article in which Steve Bannon said the housing bubble, meaning the way the established screwed it all up before and after, was the single biggest event which lead to the current President’s win. And we had discussed that before.

      Now it looks like the mania isn’t over, as many here surmised.

      Turkey is a big, important country, which holds influence over east and west. If their destiny can be so shaken, what else could fall out from this now multi-decade event?

      1. “I recently posted a Washington Post article in which Steve Bannon said the housing bubble, meaning the way the established screwed it all up before and after, was the single biggest event which lead to the current President’s win. And we had discussed that before.”

        Really? I missed that one. In fact I thought Bannon felt that he himself was the single biggest event which led to POTUS’s win.

        Maybe the housing bubble was a factor in the decision for many people, but it sure wasn’t for me. As you know, it was hope for an end to the wars, bombings, the police state.

      2. Turkey is a big, important country…

        Their former great empire was brought down by unsustainable debt.

  6. Residential investment (averaging roughly 3-5% of GDP), which includes construction of new single-family and multifamily structures, residential remodeling, production of manufactured homes, and brokers’ fees.
    ?3-5% ¿¿¿

    1. I’m surprised it’s even 3%. Think about it. Housing construction is single digit percentage of overall construction dollars. Housing construction is the fringe and bottom of the barrel in terms of talent, expertise and profit.

  7. “An illusion built on cheap credit”

    That perfectly sums up our entire eCONomy. The people in charge of running it have done a piss poor job of things – unless you’re the moneyed set, of course, then things couldn’t be better.

    After years of massive Fed liquidity, people are more in debt than ever. How could this ever be construed as good? It’s not, and the chickens are coming home to roost. I don’t doubt that the Fed will do the exact same thing this time around. I don’t know how that will work out.

    1. “An illusion built on cheap credit”

      The appearance of prosperity built upon debt may be an illusion, but the grip of the debt is not. It’s a global setup for the harvest of power like none ever seen.

  8. When everyone and his dog can create their own cryptocurrency, what is supposed to support the value of Bitcoin HODLings?
    ——————————————
    Markets
    WSJCoin: Yes, We Created Our Own Cryptocurrency
    In this documentary, we experiment with a digital currency of our own to understand what drives the market
    By Steven Russolillo and
    Clément Bürge
    Oct. 3, 2018 5:31 a.m. ET

    In 2017, bitcoin was one of the greatest investment manias in recent memory. This year, that boom has turned to bust.

    To understand what drives the wild cryptocurrency market—the technology, hype and innovation, combined with the hacking, market manipulation and increased regulation—we decided to experiment with a digital currency of our own: WSJCoin, a virtual token for the newspaper industry.

  9. October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.

    Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

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