Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Turkey lira crashes as Donald Trump piles on pressure

Berat Albayrak will issue a new economic plan today Berat Albayrak will issue a new economic plan today
Deanna Wagner | 12 August, 2018, 10:58

He also said it was wrong of the United States to try to bring Turkey into line with threats, a day after Trump doubled tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Turkey.

Trump intensified the alarm on financial markets with his new tweet doubling the tariffs, noting for good measure the lira was sliding "rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!".

Trump is also declaring that, "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!".

Earlier this week, a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no movement on the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey over terrorism charges.

The Turkish foreign ministry hit back at Trump's comments, saying the "only result will be harming our relationship" and vowing unspecified retaliation.

Donald Trump has today announced massive increases to tariffs against Turkey as its currency the lira continues to plummet.

In addition to the steep drop in the Turkish Lira, which effectively reduces the impact of the tariffs, the USA has so far been unsuccessful in persuading Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to release us pastor Andrew Brunson.

The lira tumbled about 10 per cent on Friday to another record low as investors worry about Erdogan's unorthodox economic policies and U.S. sanctions. He urged Turkish citizens to immediately exchange their gold and dollars for lira.

"This is a national, domestic battle".

The dollar rose as exposure to Turkey could impact European banks and spark a domino effect throughout Europe as people begin to pull out of those banks and into the USA, said Gregan Anderson, macroeconomic strategist at brokerage Bulltick LLC.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members are at odds on a number of issues - how to fight the Islamic State group, Ankara's plans to buy Russian missile defence systems, and how to punish the alleged plotters of a failed coup in Turkey in 2016.

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Turkey's currency has nosedived amid concerns about the country's economic policies and its dispute with the US.

Turkey's embattled lira on Friday hit new record lows against the USA dollar and euro, losing over seven percent in value as strains with the United States showed no sign of abating and fears grew over the exposure of European banks.

But the trade minister, Ruhsar Pekcan, said: "We implore President Trump to return to the negotiating table".

The economic options include a central bank intervention by raising interest rates, although this would have a temporary effect, and Erdogan is famously hesitant to raise rates.

In modern economies, central banks are meant to be independent of governments to make sure they set policies that are best for the economy, not politicians.

He also advised them to show solidarity by converting any stashed-away gold or foreign currency to lira in a bid to wage a "war of independence" against America. "If European countries want to get rid of the dollar pressure, we are ready to create a similar system with them", Anadolu Agency quotes him as saying.

The United States has increasingly used economic sanctions against foes such as Iran or North Korea but it is highly unusual for an administration to impose import tariffs over political or judicial issues with other countries.

The Turkish lira TRYTOM=D3 has always been falling on worries about Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States. But invoking national security is the only way to square Trump's policy with USA law and WTO rules.

The trouble is that for all of Albayrak's talk of Central Bank independence, Erdogan is fiercely opposed to any interest rate hikes, which are widely seen as necessary to stem the bleeding.

But the pastor is only one of a number of issues addressed by Mr Erdogan in the New York Times and his two defiant speeches to supporters on Friday. The currency has now halved in value over the past year.