Turkey is a 'target of economic war', Erdogan says

14 August, 2018, 03:24 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi

The threat to the lira, the stock market and the economy has drawn a sharp reaction from Erdogan, who has promised to look for new economic friends, including among traditional United States adversaries.

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

A currency crisis blew up last week in the Turkish lira on investor concerns over Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's increasing control over the economy and deteriorating relationship with the United States.

Turkey's stock market has fallen 17 per cent, while government borrowing costs have risen to 18 per cent a year.

The Turkish leader has been sanguine over the punitive measures announced by the U.S., saying that while Turkey's relationship with Washington is at stake it will look for other partners.

"If you pressure us through the dollar, we will look for other ways to carry out our works", he said.

"We will not give in", Erdogan said in a speech Sunday.

"Having been looking to news on whether President Trump will proceed with tariffs on a further $US200 billion of Chinese imports next month as the likely fundamental catalyst for a break lower, the fact it has come for other reasons and well ahead of this, bodes particularly poorly", he said.

"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

The Turkish currency lost nearly 20 per cent of its value against the USA dollar last week and is down 40 per cent since the start of the year.

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Agathe Demarais, lead Turkey analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told AFP that "with an overheated and indebted economy, Turkey will require credibly orthodox economic policies, fiscal discipline and central bank independence to reverse the current situation".

On Sunday, Erdogan revealed details of talks between the two countries over the pastor, saying the United States had given Turkey until last Wednesday to hand him over.

The Turkish central bank sought to tamp down concerns Monday with a pledge to provide as much financing as necessary to salvage the country's economy.

The dollar, which has rallied since the lira crisis, was little changed.

"The central bank interpreted the market volatility as unhealthy price movements and has made room for itself to possibly return to its previous corridor policy", a foreign exchange trader at a Turkish bank said.

Erdogan had on Saturday described interest rates as a "tool of exploitation", in remarks that further unnerved markets.

"The country is neither crumbling, nor being destroyed or bankrupt or in a crisis", he said, and added that the way out of the "currency plot" was to boost production and "minimise interest rates".

Turkey's Interior Ministry said it was taking legal action against 346 social media accounts it claimed had posted comments about the weakening lira "in a provocative way".

In late July, the state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) agreed to provide a US$3.6-billion loan package for the Turkish energy and transport sector, Xinhua reported last week. Stocks .XU100 dropped 4 percent, with the BIST blue-chip index down around 50 percent in dollar terms this year.

An important emerging market, Turkey borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and has been mostly pro-Western for decades.



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