Turkey Sees $10 Bln FDI Excluding Privatizations

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Turkey Sees $10 Bln FDI Excluding Privatizations

Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said on Wednesday he expects more than $20 billion of foreign direct investment in 2008 and that even without planned privatizations half of that total sum is already guaranteed, Reuters said.

Foreign direct investment (FDI), which amounted to around $22 billion last year, is vital for helping to plug Turkey's large current account deficit.

"In 2008, even if no privatizations are carried out at all, Turkey has guaranteed $10 billion of foreign investment. As our economy gets stronger, more money will come in," Unakitan told a conference.

A series of privatizations is scheduled for launch during 2008, including the sale of major bridges and highways, electricity grids and a stake in partly privatized lender Halkbank .
Investors are still awaiting a firm timetable for some of the big ticket sales.

Initial bids for the long-delayed privatization of cigarette maker Tekel were collected this week, while an initial public offering for Turk Telekom is scheduled for May.

Turkey's current account deficit is forecast at $40.78 billion this year, according to the central bank's latest external expectations survey.

"Finance Minister Unakitan's comments on FDI just highlight the absolute necessity to keep to the privatization program and fiscal restraint, as $10 billion would only guarantee a 25 percent coverage ratio of the c/a deficit this year," said Simon Quijano-Evans, economist at Unicredit MIB.

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