Turkey’s economic growth will exceed expectations in the first quarter with a slight slowdown in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s finance minister said Thursday.
“Turkey prioritizes measures to keep a solid economy in line with 2020 targets,” Berat Albayrak said, in a live broadcast by Anadolu Agency in Istanbul.
Brushing aside bearish market predictions, he said: “I do not expect Turkish economy to face risks for now.”
Turkey will come out with more positive outcomes compared to other countries, he added.
"Monetary, fiscal and economic policies have never been so synchronized in the history of the Republic of Turkey," he stressed.
The finance minister ruled out a possible curfew in the country as a measure to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Giving details about a 100-billion Turkish lira ($15.4-billion) coronavirus relief package announced on Wednesday, he said it will provide a 50- to 60-billion lira ($8-9-billion) liquidity to markets over the next three months.
Albayrak highlighted that the government is decisive to continue introducing further stimulus measures if the effects of the virus in the economy extents.
COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 160 countries and territories. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Out of more than 230,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 9,300, and over 84,500 have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.
The minister said domestic demand is expected to accelerate in mid-April.
"Our fiscal policies are weapon against negative global scenarios, we will use them when necessary, but I don't see any risks now," Albayrak said.
Historic low oil prices, global slowdown and costs will pose downside risks of inflation in the upcoming period, he stressed.
Turkey entered this period with a strong economic infrastructure, Albayrak said, adding that the country is not mulling over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) help amid coronavirus outbreak.
By Tuba Sahin and Aysu Bicer