Monday, 10 December, 2018

How a Trump tweet and an Erdogan speech shook Turkey’s economy

A vendor gets a five Euro bank note from a customer at the central market in Athens A vendor gets a five Euro bank note from a customer at the central market in Athens Greece
Glenn Montgomery | 13 August, 2018, 14:20

Friday morning, President Trump tweeted about the situation with Turkey, announcing further tariffs and noting that relations between the US and Turkey are "not good".

Washington in response sanctioned two Turkish ministers, and Trump on Friday tweeted it was doubling tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Turkey, adding that relations with Ankara were "not good at this time".

Relations between the two countries deteriorated in the wake of US President Donald Trump's decision to increase tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel to 20% and 50% respectively.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Saturday to defy United States "threats" over a detained pastor, showing no signs of concessions in a bitter row that has caused the Turkish lira to crash.

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have sunk to their lowest point in decades over a number of issues including the detention of USA pastor Andrew Brunson on terror-related charges, prompting the Turkish lira to hit record lows against the dollar. "This is Turkey", he said. Shame on you, shame on you.

On Friday, Erdogan asked Turkish citizens to sell off their gold and dollars and exchange them for the lira, in an attempt to prop up the currency.

The contagion of instability from Turkey into Europe may extend beyond the financial, should the country decide to or find itself no longer able to keep up with its end of the EU-Turkey agreement to stop the flow of Middle Eastern migrants across the Mediterranean into Greece, resulting in a second migrant crisis.

Image: Donald Trump claimed 'relations with Turkey are not good at this time!'

Meanwhile, markets are deeply concerned over the direction of economic policy under Erdogan, with inflation at almost 16 percent but the central bank reluctant to raise rates in response. According to a source in Erdogan's office, the two said they were pleased with the positive direction in their economic and trade ties and with the ongoing cooperation in the energy and defense sectors.

The single currency had retreated 0.7 percent overnight, its decline accelerating after the European Central Bank said that risks to global growth are increasing as the risk of protectionism and the threat of higher USA tariffs sap confidence.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his government "will not lose the economic war".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation uses the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to fight against IS and there has been some domestic pressure on Mr Erdogan to close it.

Trump's announcement came less than an hour after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urged Turks to help defend the country against what he called economic war against the country. It is host to a critical part of the Western alliance's missile defense system again Iran.

"If they have the dollar, we have Allah", he said.

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

After nearly 20 months in a Turkish jail, a court moved Brunson was moved to house arrest in July.

The lira's decline caps a week of political news that's unnerved investors, as the USA ramped up sanctions on Turkey and Russian Federation and as the United Kingdom fretted over a so-called no-deal Brexit.

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