Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Turkish lira hits new high amid rate hike talk

DXY Index Sideways Grind Continues ahead of BOE ECB Tomorrow Erdogan appoints himself chairman of Turkey's sovereign wealth fund
Russell Knight | 14 September, 2018, 00:01

Erdogan accused the central bank of failing to control inflation, now standing at 18 percent, and again aired his unorthodox view that low rates bring inflation down. It later shed some of those gains but was still up over 2.7 per cent in value at 6.15 to the dollar.

"We can not allow the use of the tool of exploitation that is interest rates", Erdogan told a meeting in Istanbul on Thursday.

He also decreed that local property sales, rental contracts and leasing transactions could no longer be conducted in foreign currency, in a fresh bid to buttress the flagging lira.

The central bank hiked the one week repo auction rate 625 basis points from 17.75 percent to 24 percent, significantly higher than the Bloomberg consensus of an increase to 21 percent.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com said: "This was a definite statement from policymakers, but the risk now is that the market tries to test the central bank's resolve: the horse may have already bolted".

It described the hike as a "strong monetary tightening to support price stability".

"Tight stance in monetary policy will be maintained decisively until inflation outlook displays a significant improvement".

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"It nearly seems like it's a game of "good cop, bad cop" being played out between the Turkish authorities - with President Erdogan on the one hand still making statements regarding his dislike of interest rates and. a very sizeable reaction from the central bank in response to the recent inflationary and geopolitical developments".

The rate hit the lowest level in two weeks.

In a speech to a traders' confederation in the capital, Ankara, Mr Erdogan said on Thursday that nobody should carry out business in foreign currency apart from exporters and importers.

"They act according to the Central Bank's decisions and there are now rates as high as 50 percent in practice", Erdoğan said, underlining that such sharp profits could only be gained through narcotics. "If you say 'inflation is cause, the rate is the result, ' you do not know this business, friend". They increased the cost of cash to commercial lenders by around 150 basis points last month by forcing them to use a borrowing tool costlier than the one-week repo rate.

Turkey's currency crisis has been driven by concerns about Erdogan's influence on monetary policy, but also more recently by the country's diplomatic row with the United States.

He's delivered on that pledge, ousting the old guard of policy makers who'd guided the economy since 2002 and giving himself the sole authority to make appointments at the central bank and other state organizations.

Turkey's currency and inflationary troubles are also compounded by the threat of steel and aluminium tariffs from the U.S. as well as sanctions over the detention of an American evangelical pastor.

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