Landon THOMAS Jr. The New York Times
ISTANBUL — Is Turkey’s booming economy ripe for a fall? It certainly looks that way.
Stock brokers endure four-month waiting lists to pay as much as $150,000 for top-of-the-line Audis and BMWs — twice the manufacturers’ prices after taxes. A real estate developer recently laid out a record $33.3 million an acre for a 24-acre plot of land in Istanbul’s city center.
But the most striking sign that the economy here may be overheating comes from a usual suspect: the country’s aggressive banks. They have found a creative way to finance consumer splurges by providing quick loan approval via text message or A.T.M. machine.
Analysts and bankers say the explosive growth in consumer loans has fed a worrying expansion of the country’s current account deficit, estimated to be 8 percent of gross domestic product this year.
Turkey’s trouble in financing gaps of that size has been at the root of its past two busts, and some worry that history may be repeating itself.
“We are again producing and consuming beyond our capacity,” said Atilla Yesilada, an economist at Istanbul Analytics, who has lived through Turkey’s last two busts, in 1994 and 2001. “We are financing our growth entirely through foreign credit, which is becoming more expensive. At some point life catches up with you, and you crash.”