Sunday, 18 November, 2018


Turkish crisis weakens shekel against dollar

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party in Rize Turkey Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party in Rize Turkey
Conrad Doyle | 13 August, 2018, 18:28

Erdogan appeared unworried by the punitive measures imposed by the USA, saying Turkey could turn to other partners and again terming the crisis an "economic war".

The fear is that Turkish firms that took out euro and dollar denominated loans will be unable to repay those debts as the lira collapses, triggering bankruptcies that hit Turkish banks.

The minister also said a plan has been prepared for banks and the "real" economy, including small to mid-sized businesses which are most affected by the foreign exchange fluctuations.

The lira's tailspin has unsettled global markets, with shares of European banks coming under particular pressure because of concerns over the lenders' exposure to Turkey.

On Monday, stocks fell 2% in Tokyo and more than 1% in Hong Kong.

In his remarks a day earlier, Erdogan said it was a pity the United States was choosing Andrew Brunson - a USA pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges - over its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally. "If you come at us with your dollars then we will find other ways to do business".

Turkey would also be reluctant to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund after clearing billions of dollars of debt to the fund under Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the Lira crisis as a "plot against Turkey", warning that his country will forge new alliances and markets in response to a bitter rift with long-time ally the United States, which has caused the Turkish currency to hit record lows.

The lira has lost more than 40 percent against the dollar this year, largely on worries about Erdogan's influence over the economy, his calls for lower interest rates, and worsening ties with the United States.

The dispute between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies - which reached new intensity over the detention of an American pastor in Turkey - has hammered the lira and also raised questions over the future partnership between Washington and Ankara.

The lira's slide continued Monday, with the currency dropping as much as 10% against the USA dollar in early-morning trading before stabilizing.

Trump has tweeted that he wants the pastor released.

Trump added, "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"

The Turkish lira has nosedived over the past week and tumbled another 7pc on Monday as the central bank's measures failed to restore investor confidence.

The central bank, which surprised markets last month when it left interest rates unchanged despite double-digit inflation and the tumbling lira, announced the moves on liquidity and reserves after Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said authorities would start implementing an economic action plan on Monday.

Albayrak described the Lira's weakness as "an attack", echoing President Erdogan, who is his father-in-law.

Turkey's Central Bank has announced a series of measures to help banks manage their liquidity, after the country's finance chief said the government had readied an "action plan" to ease market concerns that led to a slump in the value of Turkish currency.

Investors have been seeking an outright hike in the policy rate to halt the currency's losses but the bankers say that readopting the corridor could substitute for higher rates. In early Asian trading Monday, the lira fell to a record low of 7.06 against the dollar.

Iran too has suffered a major decline in its currency this year - in part due to USA abandonment of the nuclear deal - with the rial losing more than half its value against the dollar since April.

Turkey's Interior Ministry said it has initiated legal investigations against 346 social media accounts 'which posted content provoking the dollar exchange rate'.

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