2016 was a highly volatile year in the global markets. Projections related to the monetary policies of developed country central banks moved the markets while the outcome of the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote in June and the result of the US presidential elections in November intensified fluctuations during the year. The main agenda items that will shape the global outlook in 2017 include the economic policies of the new administration in the United States; the timing and course of the Fed’s rate hikes; results of the upcoming elections in Germany, France and the Netherlands; the United Kingdom’s exit process from the EU; developments in the Chinese economy, and geopolitical risks.
These developments, which will chart the course of the US dollar and dollar-denominated interest rates that constitute the primary market risk factors in recent times, will have a major impact on global markets as well as capital flows to and from emerging markets. Against this backdrop, we expect a highly uncertain and volatile year in 2017.
In this highly volatile global environment, the Turkish economy continued to grow strongly led by private consumption and investment spending. After slowing in the third quarter, economic activity began to recover in the fourth quarter thanks to the measures implemented by public authorities and the support of the robust banking industry. We expect this positive trend to continue in 2017 as a result of investments spurred by government incentives.
The banking industry recorded acceleration in annual credit growth rates thanks to the economic policies and incentives unveiled in the final quarter of the year. The sector-wide nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio remained low while the capital adequacy ratio continued to exceed both the legal requirement and the target level.
In 2016, Akbank was once again acclaimed by leading European financial circles thanks to its robust capital base, effective risk management practices, strong asset quality, and customeroriented approach. Akbank became the first Turkish bank to be named the “Best Bank in Central and Eastern Europe” at the 2016 Excellence Awards organized by Euromoney, one of the world’s most prestigious financial publication groups. In the same competition, Akbank was voted the “Best Bank in Turkey” by Euromoney for the seventh time. Akbank was also deemed worthy of the “Bank of the Year in Turkey” designation by The Banker, the prestigious Financial Times magazine, and the “Best Bank in Turkey” award by Global Finance.
Committed to conducting its operations in a way that generates sustainable value, Akbank focused on education, entrepreneurship, culture, arts and savings in its corporate social responsibility efforts as the Bank continued to contribute to social progress in 2016. As always, our first and foremost responsibility in the period ahead will be generating sustainable value for our stakeholders, country, shareholders, employees and customers.
The Bank will continue to support our country and pioneer the banking and finance industry with its strong performance and highly-qualified human capital. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to our employees, partners and stakeholders for their contributions to our success and their unwavering confidence in us.