The year 2019 is defined by a global slowdown and increased monetary support extended by the developed economies in order to reinforce the economy accordingly. In its latest World Economic Outlook, IMF estimates that the global GDP growth for the year 2019 will hit the lowest level since 2008-09 with a 3.0% growth. To this end, the FED has delivered rate cuts of 50 basis points in total since the beginning of the year, while the European Central Bank relaunched its bond-buying program. While the slowdown in growth appears to be triggered mainly by political uncertainties, particularly including the US-China trade wars, such a conclusive settlement in the short term is regarded as unlikely. Therefore, the low-interest landscape in developing countries is projected to persist for a while.
The Turkish economy is positively affected by these developments. As external financing becomes less costly with the lower interest rates, and the balance of payments benefits from lower raw material and energy costs due to the weak global demand. Accordingly, the economic activity has tended to experience a moderate recovery since the beginning of this year. We estimate the growth to realize at 1% in 2019, and to rise to 4.6% in the upcoming year, based on the expectation that the financial conditions will remain supportive.
Besides the accommodative global conditions, the economic outlook was further strengthened by the decline in inflation on the back of stability-focused policies undertaken in 2018 and accordingly the room created for the Central Bank to deliver rate cuts. Inflation eventually retreated to 9.3% in September from 20% levels seen in the first half of the year. Therefore, CBRT (Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey) set the policy interest rate at 14.0% with a cut of 10 percentage points between July-October 2019. The permanence of the single-digit inflation and continuity of decreasing trend in domestic interest rates will serve as the most decisive factors in the steadiness of growth.
We have entered into the final quarter of 2019 with a sound balance sheet and strong capital structure. With the strength of the principal shareholder QNB (Qatar National Bank) by our side, our bank continues to further contribute to the real economy.
As of September 30, 2019, the total assets of QNB Finansbank increased by 11 percent compared to the year-end of 2018, reaching TRY 174 billion 192, while net loans rose by 10 percent to TRY 103 billion 590 million, and customer deposits grew by 13 percent to TRY 94 billion 375 million. Our bank’s net profit in the first nine months of 2019 reached TRY 1 billion 960 million, with an increase of 12 percent, compared to the same period of last year.
On the other hand, our ongoing solid capital structure allows QNB Finansbank to continue its commitment in corporate social responsibility efforts at full tilt. We continue to launch critical projects with invaluable contributions of our volunteering colleagues within our “Small Hands Big Dreams” CSR Platform aimed at preparing our children for the future.
Our esteemed financier colleagues and stakeholders have undoubtedly contributed to this steady growth at QNB Finansbank. I would like to once again express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to this achievement.
Ömer A. Aras
QNB Finansbank A.Ş