Turkish FM criticizes 'unacceptable' sanctions on Qatar

                By Nazli Yuzbasioglu </p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday criticized sanctions on Qatar and commended strong economy of the tiny Gulf country.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of 18th Doha Forum, Cavusoglu said Qatar is becoming more self-sufficient every passing day by taking steps to diversify its economy. </p>    <p>“Qatar’s economy has been growing. Qatar has been strengthening,” the foreign minister said, calling the recent economic situation of the country as an “artificial crisis.” </p>    <p>Cavusoglu said the sanctions targeting the country is “unacceptable.”</p>    <p>“Whatever the problem is, we are against all kind of sanctions,” he said, adding: “I hope these issues will be resolved as soon as possible.&quot;  </p>    <p>Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates cut off all their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, and accused Doha of supporting terrorism.  </p>    <p>In addition to imposing a blockade to the small peninsula nation, the group led by Saudi Arabia released a 13-point list of demands, which required Doha to cut its relations with Iran and shut down its Al Jazeera television network.</p>    <p>By leaving the world's biggest oil organization, Qatar has become the first Arab nation to do so since its foundation in 1960. Qatar had joined the organization one year after its establishment.</p>  <p>The Turkish foreign minister also hailed a large-turnout forum entitled “Diplomacy, Dialogue, Diversity,” saying it is the “most significant ones&quot; in the world.</p>    <p>“I think this year’s theme and timing of the forum was very good,&quot; he said.</p>    <p>In regards to the Oct. 2 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Cavusoglu said the Saudi investigation into the murder should be “transparent” and “reliable,” adding Turkey will continue to pursue the developments. </p>    <p>Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.</p>    <p>After producing various contradictory explanations, Riyadh acknowledged he was killed inside the diplomatic building, blaming the act on a botched rendition operation.

Turkey's benchmark stock index up at open

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's benchmark stock index surged 0.75 percent or 693.89 points to open at 93,521.18 points on Friday.

On Thursday, Borsa Istanbul's BIST 100 index dropped 1.22 percent to close the day at 92,827.29 points with a daily trading volume of 5.26 billion Turkish liras ($979.4 million).

The U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stood at 5.3330 as of 9.30 a.m. local time (0630GMT), compared with Thursday's closing rate of 5.3690.

The euro/lira rate was 6.0690, versus 6.1130 at the last close. One British pound was exchanged for 6.8270 Turkish liras, as the GBP/TRY was 6.7970 by market close on Thursday.

The price of Brent oil was around $59.36 per barrel as of 9.50 a.m. local time (0650GMT) Friday.

Nigeria: Tackling malnutrition could cut poverty

                              By Rafiu Ajakaye

YOLA, Nigeria (AA) – At least 33 percent of Nigerians will escape extreme poverty if the country successfully tackles malnutrition, nutrition experts have said, arguing that malnourished children have zero potential to contribute to the economy.

“Fighting malnutrition is an urgent imperative for Nigeria because any economy where 50 percent of the children are stunted or wasted is doomed. If Nigeria overcomes the menace of malnutrition, 33 percent of poor people will get out of extreme poverty and give their own children a better chance at life,” said Davis Bamidele Omotola, UNICEF nutrition consultant, on Wednesday.

He was speaking in Yola, the capital of Nigeria’s northeastern Adamawa state, at a two-day media dialogue on child malnutrition with the theme “Investing in child malnutrition for the future.” The event was attended by journalists, government officials, and representatives of UNICEF and the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID).

Omotola said investing in children's nutrition offers some of the greatest opportunities for social and economic change in Africa, adding: “For every dollar invested in reducing stunting among children in Africa, there's a return on investment of $16 while also preventing nearly half of child mortality and increasing school attainment by at least one year.”

His comments come amid anger generated by a recent report by the World Poverty Clock and Brookings Institute that Nigeria has succeeded India as the world's poverty capital.

“When we invest heavily in nutrition, it makes children 33 percent more likely to escape poverty as adults,” he added.

Olumide Osanyinpeju, head of Nigeria’s Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Information and Culture Ministry, said improved nutrition is key to attaining national and human development but can only be achieved when citizens are aware of the dangers of malnutrition.

“Addressing nutrition is one of the ways through which sustainable development goals can be achieved, therefore investment in nutrition will help reduce the negative trend of malnutrition,” he added.

He said the dialogue event was meant to “reduce malnutrition among infants and children, adolescents and women of reproductive age; to significantly reduce micronutrient deficiency disorders, especially among vulnerable groups; and to increase the knowledge of nutrition among the populace and nutrition education into formal and informal trainings.”

The experts called for investment to ensure food security and end extreme hunger by 2030, the second goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Nigeria faces what experts called a national emergency on malnutrition, with at least half of children in the insurgency-wracked northeast either affected by stunting or wasting — both of them representing various stages of malnutrition with dire consequences for the child mortality rate and ability to make headway in life.

UPDATE – Turkey's annual inflation falls in November

             UPDATES WITH BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND MONTHLY FIGURES</p>  <p>By Muhammed Ali Gurtas</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey saw a 21.62-percent annual rise in consumer prices in November, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) reported Monday.</p>  <p>Annual inflation fell by 3.62 percentage points from 25.24 percent in October.</p>  <p>The highest price increase on a yearly basis in November was seen in furnishing and household equipment, with 32.73 percent. </p>  <p>&quot;Miscellaneous goods and services with 27.87 percent, food and non-alcoholic beverages with 25.66 percent, housing with 24.76 percent, and recreation and culture with 21.18 percent were the other main groups where high annual increases were realized,&quot; TurkStat said.</p>  <p>Last week, an Anadolu Agency survey showed that a group of 16 economists forecast an average annual climb of 22.61 percent in consumer prices.</p>    <p>According to the survey, Turkey's year-end annual inflation would be 22.57 percent on average, with predictions varying between 21.00 and 25.40 percent.</p>  <p>In September, the Treasury and Finance Ministry launched an &quot;all-out war&quot; on inflation with a set of measures to limit extreme increases in consumer prices.</p>  <p>Over the past five years, annual inflation saw its lowest level in April 2013, with 6.13 percent, and its highest level this October.</p>  <p>As noted in Turkey's new economy program announced in September, the country's inflation rate target is 20.8 percent this year, 15.9 percent next year, 9.8 percent in 2020, and 6.0 percent in 2021.</p>  <p>On a monthly basis, the consumer prices went down for the first time since June 2017, falling 1.44 percent in November.</p>  <p>The highest monthly decrease was 6.46 percent in transportation, as the highest monthly increase was seen in clothing and footwear, up 2.37 percent.</p>  <p>&quot;In November 2018 within average prices of 407 items in the index, the average prices of 38 items remained unchanged while the average prices of 261 items increased, and the average prices of 108 items decreased,&quot; TurkStat added.</p>  <p><br></p>  <p> 

Turkey: Manufacturing PMI rises in November

             By Muhammed Ali Gurtas</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector posted 44.7 in November, up for a second successive month, according to a monthly business survey on Monday.</p>  <p>An Istanbul Chamber of Industry PMI report conducted in cooperation with IHS Markit said marked reductions in inflationary pressures provided some respite for manufacturers in November.</p>  <p>&quot;Business conditions remained challenging, leading to further moderations in output and new orders, but the rates at which they slowed were softer than in October,&quot; the report said.</p>  <p>Last month, the PMI climbed 0.4 points compared to October's index value of 44.3.</p>  <p>&quot;Although the reading indicated a further moderation of business conditions, the extent of the slowdown was the weakest in three months.</p>  <p>&quot;Gradual improvements in the lira exchange rate led to a sharp slowdown in rates of both input cost and output price inflation in November,&quot; it said.</p>  <p>The U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate hit a four-month low last week -- around 5.16 -- improved from average USD/TRY rates of 6.38 in September, 5.87 in October, and 5.38 in November overall.</p>  <p>Turkey saw a 21.62-percent annual rise in consumer prices in November, falling 3.62 percentage points from 25.24 percent in October.</p>  <p>&quot;Subdued demand conditions led manufacturers to prefer using existing inventories to support production as opposed to purchasing new inputs,&quot; the report said. </p>  <p>&quot;As a result, both input buying and stocks of purchases moderated over the month,&quot; it added.</p>  <p>The manufacturing PMI -- derived from indicators for new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchases -- is a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance. </p>  <p>An index value above 50 indicates the sector is growing, while a figure below 50 signals a contraction. </p>  <p> 

Turkey's annual inflation falls in November

             By Muhammed Ali Gurtas</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey saw a 21.62-percent annual hike in consumer prices in November, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) reported Monday.</p>    <p>The annual inflation fell by 3.62 percentage points from 25.24 percent in October.</p>    <p>The highest price increase on a yearly basis was seen in furnishing and household equipment with 32.73 percent in November.</p>    <p>&quot;Miscellaneous goods and services with 27.87 percent, food and non-alcoholic beverages with 25.66 percent, housing with 24.76 percent and recreation and culture with 21.18 percent were the other main groups where high annual increases realized,&quot; TurkStat said.</p>    <p>Last week, an Anadolu Agency survey showed that a group of 16 economists forecast an average annual climb of 22.61 percent in consumer prices.

UPDATE – Turkey sees highest export figure for Nov. with $15.5B

UPDATES WITH TRADE MINISTER'S REMARKS

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's exports hit highest-ever November figure with $15.5 billion, according to the Trade Ministry's preliminary data released on Saturday.

Last month, the country's exports climbed 9.49 percent year-on-year while imports went down 21.47 percent to $16.1 billion.

The exports-to-imports coverage ratio rose to 96.3 percent in November, up from 69 percent in the same month in 2017.

On a yearly basis, Turkey's foreign trade deficit fell 90.5 percent to $604 million last month.

Preliminary figures showed that the country's 12-month rolling export volume also reached a new peak of $168.77 billion.

Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said in a statement that the year 2018 continued to be the record year in exports.

"It is pleasing to see the fruits of our efforts enhance Turkey's competitive capacity in global trade," Pekcan said.

"We are confident that Turkey will reach the year-end export goal of $170 billion noted in the country's New Economic Program [announced this September]," she said.

"We aim at creating an economy with higher value-added and having our country rank among the developed economies," Pekcan said.

"In that vein we’ll continue to focus on branding, design and increase the share of high-tech products within our exports portfolio."

She also noted that the number of countries Turkey exported to and imported from with Turkish lira reached 174 and 110, respectively, as of November.

She stated that the volume of foreign trade conducted with Turkey's local currency in November totaled 10.1 billion lira ($2 billion), of which 47.5 percent in exports and the rest in imports.

$3B investment opportunities at Badeer Istanbul summit

By Gokhan Ergocun

ISTANBUL (AA) – The Badeer Investment Platform's summit, set to be held next week in Istanbul, offers foreign investors a host of opportunities worth some $3 billion.

The two-day Badeer I. Business World and Investment Opportunities Summit, with support from the Turkey Presidency's Investment Office and the Turkish Trade Ministry, will kick off on Dec. 5.

The summit is expected to bring together around 300 foreign investors from over 40 countries and some 100 domestic investors in sectors such as industry, energy, tourism, construction, defense, high tech, and agriculture.

Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and chamber representatives will also take part in the summit.

Ali Ercoskun, board member of the Qatari-Turkish joint Badeer Investment Platform, said that Turkey has some of the best investment incentives in the world.

"In recent years, especially Arab countries have been interested in investing in Turkey," he said.

He added that foreign investors need support to get information in a number of areas, such as citizenship, business law, and wise investment projects.

The summit will be held at the Hilton Bomonti Hotel.