2018 has been a year when significant developments were experienced in the economy, beginning with elevated exchange rates and resulting in tightening of fiscal conditions, rising inflation and increasing interest rates. Partial unwinding of the increase in inflation was possible at year-end through measures taken. The growth rate slowed down and within the accelerated rebalancing process a remarkable recovery was seen in the current account balance.
It appears that the rebalancing process, reinforced by monetary and fiscal policies oriented towards stability, shall continue to be effective in 2019, and the contraction in current account deficit and decrease in inflation will become more evident in the coming month.
Despite the adverse effects of the sudden rise of exchange rates on firms with foreign currency loans, we anticipate the fiscal incentives to reinforce the real sector. 2019 points to important opportunities for exporters.
In the global economy, on the other hand, a slowing of growth rates is anticipated. In the 2018 Davos Summit, IMF President Christine Lagarde indicated that they had to lower their growth rate estimates due to reasons such as trade wars between US and China, and Brexit. IMF lowered its global growth estimates from 3.7% to 3.5%.
As the IMF aptly points out, in 2018 the notion of trade wars was introduced on a global scale. The tension between US and China has impacted economies in various ways and will continue to do so. Main developments in the global economic arena shall include deceleration of the Chinese Economy, FED’s policy of balance sheet reduction, and cessation of monetary expansion by the European Central Bank.
Amongst such volatility, QNB Finansbank ended the year successfully. Despite the unfavorable financial conditions faced in 2018, our Bank performed better than its peers. Our sound and prudent balance sheet management policy protected us against currency, maturity and interest risks. Keeping our liquidity high and managing our overall credit risk effectively in all segments, we were further able to control costs by increased productivity.
In 2018, the Bank’s total assets grew by 25 percent, reaching TRY 157 billion 416 million; performing loans increased 16 percent, reaching TRY 95 billion 295 million; and customer deposits rose 28 percent to reach TRY 83 billion 413 million. Our bank’s net period profit was TRY 2 billion 410 million.
As of 31 December 2018, compared to year-end 2017, our total equity increased by 20 percent to TRY 14 billion 572 million, and our capital adequacy ratio reached 15.42%.
Supported by the strength of the QNB Group, our bank continues to contribute sustainably to the Turkish economy.
Thanks to our strong capital structure, we continue to carry out corporate social responsibility projects at full speed. We maintain critical projects, with the help of volunteers, within the “Small Hands Big Dreams” platform, aimed at preparing our children for the future.
I would like to thank all my colleagues and stakeholders once again for their contribution towards the continued and sustainable growth of QNB Finansbank.
Ömer A. Aras
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