Economic turmoil hits Turkey, US bank stocks react
11 August, 2018, 17:58
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging the Turkish people to exchange gold and hard currency into lira, after the currency hit a record low against the dollar today.
Relations between Washington and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also have worsened because of the detention of three locally employed U.S. consular workers, trade matters and differences over Syria.
The day saw the lira plunge as much as 18% at one point, the biggest one-day drop since Turkey's 2001 financial crisis.
UBS chief economist for EMEA emerging markets Gyorgy Kovacs said a giant rate hike of 350-400 basis points would be "consistent with real rate levels that in the past helped to stabilise the currency" but warned a deal to normalise ties with the United States may also be needed. "Hopefully we will overcome this disaster and we will also successfully overcome this economic war", Erdogan said. Thus, Trump's tweet suggests that any country that enters a time of economic turmoil - and consequently, sees the value of its currency fall - is a fair target for punitive trade actions by the United States.
The United States had warned it was reviewing Turkey's duty-free access to its markets, after Ankara imposed retaliatory tariffs on USA goods in response to American tariffson steel and aluminium.
The lira lost 12pc against the dollar on Friday following an escalation of the tensions between Turkey and America.
He also said it was wrong of the United States to try to bring Turkey into line with threats, a day after Trumpdoubled tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Turkey. Financial upheaval there risks further destabilizing an already volatile region.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2018.
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On March 1, Trump had announced global tariffs of 10 percent on all aluminum to the US and 25 percent on all steel imports. The White House said he had authorized them under asection of US trade law that allows for tariffs on nationalsecurity grounds.
Politically, Turkey's finance minister continues to try to say the right things, including that the country will embrace a tightened fiscal policy in the coming months to achieve the strategic goal of "economic balance". "The tweet is mightier than the Turkish sword", Cristian Maggio, head of emerging markets strategy at TD Securities, said in a note to clients. If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks.
"When it comes to cornering Turkey to extract certain concessions that undermine our sovereign rights, it is a whole another story".
Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States over the detention for the last two years of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues. This is a national struggle.
Erdogan has blamed outside forces for trying to bring down Turkey's economy.
Brunson, an evangelical Presbyterian from North Carolina, was jailed for allegedly supporting a group that Turkey blames for the failed coup. "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging". Gulen denies the allegation.
The drop in the lira has put increasing pressure on Turkish banks, given many companies have borrowed heavily in foreign currency. And it is not too far away from the level at which Goldman Sachs warned Turkey's banks would run out of the extra capital they had built up as a buffer against a crisis.
Berat Albayrak, the Treasury minister and Mr Erdogan's son-in-law, is due to announce a "new economic model" for Turkey...
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High-level meetings in Washington between US and Turkish officials over Brunson ended this week , apparently without a resolution. But Mr Erdogan is famously averse to interest rate rises, and there are fears he may be pressuring the central bank not to act.
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