Erdogan under pressure as Turkish lira plunges to record low

President Erdogan has defied market calls for an interest rate increase. (AFP/ Turkish presidential press service)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Erdogan under pressure as Turkish lira plunges to record low

  • The lira dived to record lows of 7.24 to the dollar and 8.12 against the euro very early on Monday
  • The lira had tumbled about 16 percent against the dollar on Friday

NEW YORK: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came under renewed pressure on Monday to reverse his economic policies as the troubled lira tumbled to record lows against the euro and dollar.

The US dollar, Japanese yen and the Swiss franc have been the preferred safe havens for scared investors.

The lira dived to record lows of 7.24 to the dollar and 8.12 against the euro very early in the day, then recovered somewhat after Turkey’s central bank announced a raft of measures aimed at calming markets, only to slip back again late in the session.

“The attempts by Turkey to halt the demise of the lira and the country’s soaring bond yields have proven inadequate thus far,” said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB.

“Investors remained fearful on Monday over the Turkish lira’s precipitous plunge — and the concerns that a financial crisis in the country would ripple through the rest of Europe,” Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said.

Sharp depreciation

“So far the impact of the lira crash has been limited in Europe and the rest of the world,” said Agathe Demarais, Turkey analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

“However, within a few months Western banks that have strong ties with Turkey will feel the impact of the crisis as Turkish corporates will struggle to repay debt in foreign currency.

“The sharp depreciation of the lira has almost doubled the local currency value of external debt repayments since the start of the year.” 

The lira had tumbled about 16 percent against the dollar on Friday, after US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey.

The crisis has been sparked by a series of issues including a faltering economy — Erdogan has defied market calls for an interest rate increase — and tensions with the United States, which has hit Turkey with sanctions over its detention of an American pastor.

‘Black Friday’

In its first statement since what was dubbed “Black Friday” in Turkey, the nation’s central bank said on Monday it was ready to take “all necessary measures” to ensure financial stability, promising to provide banks with “all the liquidity” they need.

The central bank also lowered reserve requirement ratios for banks, in a move also aimed at staving off any liquidity issues.

But the statement gave no clear promise of rate increases, which is what most economists say is needed.


Full-blown US, China trade war to cost jobs, growth and stability — WTO’s Azevedo

Updated 25 September 2018
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Full-blown US, China trade war to cost jobs, growth and stability — WTO’s Azevedo

  • ‘A continued escalation of tensions would pose an increased threat to stability, to jobs and to the kind of growth that we are seeing today’
  • ‘There would be no winners from such a scenario and every region would be affected’

BERLIN: A full-blown trade war would have serious effects on global economic growth and there would be no winners of such a scenario, the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Roberto Azevedo, said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a Berlin industry event against the backdrop of growing trade tensions between China and the US, Azevedo said: “The warning lights are flashing. A continued escalation of tensions would pose an increased threat to stability, to jobs and to the kind of growth that we are seeing today.”
A full-blown global trade war with a breakdown in international trade cooperation would reduce global trade growth by around 70 percent and GDP growth by 1.9 percent, Azevedo said.
“There would be no winners from such a scenario and every region would be affected,” Azevedo said. The European Union itself would have about 1.7 percent taken off its GDP growth, he said, adding: “Clearly, we cannot let this happen.”
Azevedo pointed to several reform proposals that addressed trade-distorting practices and the WTO’s existing mechanisms to resolve trade disputes, adding that members had to agree on which reforms they wanted to focus on.
“Clearly, this informed debate is gaining significant momentum and that is positive,” Azevedo said, adding the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November would be crucial to agree on the next steps to safeguard the rules-based free trade order.
“Of course, the system can be better, in fact it must be better. But it’s nonetheless vital. So while we work to improve it and ensure that it’s more responsible to evolving economic needs, we must also preserve what we have — and I count on your support to that end,” he said.