It’s been a long time since the media has used the word “contagion” to describe a threat to equity markets around the world. It’s been a long time since people have been worried about any one international country bringing down our stock market. Perhaps, maybe, Turkey’s situation is an excuse to discuss the acid rain of negative media again. However, with a little perspective, we can put these headlines to rest.
Turkey’s currency recently declined by as much the forty percent with “Trade Wars” as one convenient excuse. In my opinion, the behavior of Turkish President Erdogan may be causing many of the issues that investors worry about.
When we last worried this much about any one country it was North Korea, with scary thoughts of nuclear proliferation. Since then, I guess, we’ve put these worries to rest. The managers of the best companies in the world ways to make profits in spite of the surprises from this country’s leader.
Not that long ago, we were worried about China and uncollateralized debt within the country. Similarly, these worries have subsided into the background as companies within that country find ways to make profits and US (and other foreign) companies find ways to make profits within a country which is, once again, not a democracy.
The word contagion gained incredible power with Spain, Portugal, Italy and, of course, Greece, because these countries fell apart in harmony during the Financial Crisis of 2008. This decade hence, all four countries are still open for business, with completely different headlines making the news today. They are, not one of them, a pillar of prudence. Instead, they are beacons along the cliffs of financial ruin, helping guide the rest of us en route to prosperity.
As I was growing up, I listened to the rebellious, smart, funny band,They Might be Giants.Admittedly, this funny old band inordinately biases my impression of Anatolia.
Turkey will be fine. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but Turks will survive. They survived the Assyrians, the Hittites, and (famously) the Greeks. Then the Byzantines (more famously) turned Turkey into a Christian powerhouse. Then came the Ottomans, two World Wars, and now they sit in a position of shifting power between competing interests. If, for no other reason than geography, Turkey will always be valuable.
And you will be fine. I don’t know how or when this chaos will resolve, but I believe the companies in which we are invested will continue to overcome obstacles and deliver results that are in our long-term best interest.