Borsa Istanbul, the stock exchange in Turkey, has experienced a significant drop since Monday as a result of the recent earthquakes in the southern part of the country. Despite the benchmark stock index BIST 100 decreasing by seven percent on Tuesday, there is one sector that has seen an increase: cement companies.
Nine cement companies have seen a surge in their stocks over the past two days, with five of them increasing by nearly 21 percent. These companies include Konya Cimento, Oyak Cimento, Afyon Cimento, Nigbas, and Cimbeton.
There have been accusations that investors are being opportunistic during a time of crisis, as people are fighting for survival in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Investors believe that there will be a large reconstruction effort in the coming months and are buying shares related to the effort.
In response to the devastation, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency in ten provinces affected by the earthquakes. The magnitude 7.8 quake, followed by a second earthquake of similar power, resulted in the collapse of thousands of buildings including schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings. Tens of thousands of people have been injured or displaced in both Turkey and Syria.
The construction sector in Turkey is a significant source of employment but is also a controversial topic due to the government’s prioritization of infrastructure and housing investments in recent years. Critics have accused the government of establishing an economy based on cement and enriching its allies.
According to the World Health Organisation, the overall number of people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria could be more than 23 million.
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