Turkey economy recorded a partial growth by 1.8% in contrast to expectations despite Covid-19 pandemic throughout 2020. TurkStat’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate recorded as 12.2% and 13.4% respectively in the first two months of 2021. Moreover, the financial sector confidence index recorded at 134.9 by 15% decrease in March 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year while the real sector confidence index increased to 110.2 with an increase of 12%.
Other parameters affecting leasing and investment activities in the office market included the continued exchange rate volatility and the increase in inflation to 16.2% in March on annual basis.
During 2020, significant changes have been experienced in the office market as in many asset classes. In line with the outcomes of this period, companies are reshaping their workplace strategy with the increase in remote working penetration. In this context, the quality, building specification and location have become more important than ever.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the retail market remained in the first quarter of 2021 due to ongoing restrictions. In addition to curfews, limitations in the activities of retailers are reflected in the total turnover and visitor number indices.
The footfall index has dropped significantly by 62% in February compared to year before while increased 9.4% compared to January. Although the turnover index was showing signs of recovery in all categories in the first two months of 2020 pre-pandemic period, it decreased by 22,6% y/y in February 2021. The turnover index showed better performance than the first month of the year in line with the 10.3% m/m increase.
The most dramatic decline is recorded in the food & beverage category by 59% compared to same month of last year. While the decrease is around 30% in both apparel and shoe category, the technology category, which has been improving since the beginning of the pandemic, grew by 7% y/y in February and became the only category that recorded increase. Turnover and number of visitors indicators are expected to recover in the second half of the year as restrictions are eased.
Following the noticeable impact of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout 2020, foreign trade indicators showed more moderate performance in the first two months of 2021. While Turkey’s export trade volume reached US$31.4 billion in the first two months of the year with an increase of 5.9%, Turkey’s import trade volume recorded US$37.4 billion increasing slightly by 1.4% compared the same period of the previous year. Moreover, the foreign trade deficit fell by 15.9% to US$6.35 billion in January - February 2021 in line with realized improvement.Manufacturing PMI results are hovering above 50 points in the first three months of 2021 after a year in global pandemic environment. This indicates an expansion in both production and employment. While challenges in the raw materials supply continued, the fluctuation in the exchange rate caused cost increases. However, although the rising inflation environment suppressed the expansion, the recovery of the manufacturing industry is expected to remain.