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Stocks plunge worldwide as crisis in Turkey reverberates

11 August, 2018, 13:54 | Author: Melinda Barton
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President Trump turned a simmering conflict with Turkey to a boil, tweeting that he would double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum.

The US dealt Turkey and the lira a further blow in a tweet on Friday, in which Mr Trump said he had approved the doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium.

Ivo Daalder, a former USA ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs think-tank, said Turkey could grind decision-making at Nato's headquarters in Brussels to a halt if the dispute with Trump got out of hand. Import taxes for aluminum will be 20 percent.

"At a time when evil continues to lurk around the world, unilateral actions against Turkey by the United States, our ally of decades, will only serve to undermine American interests and security", Erdogan said in the article.

The lira has always been falling on worries about Mr Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States. Following the tweet, Turkey responded by imposing duties on $1.8 billion in US goods including coal and paper.

President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks to exchange gold and dollars into lira as the currency tumbled after President Donald Trump doubled USA tariffs on metals imports from Turkey.

He told supporters to "change the euros, the dollars and the gold that you are keeping beneath your pillows into lira at our banks".

Geopolitical tensions between the USA and other countries set the tone for markets this week, with a speech from President Recep Erdogan doing little to quell investor angst that Turkey's crisis will spread to other economies.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told a rally Friday that his country would not yield to what he called bullying and blackmail.


Economist Chad Bown, who specialises in trade issues, said Turkey accounted for just over four percent of United States steel imports in 2017, but a very small fraction of the aluminum brought into the country.

The drop in the lira has put increasing pressure on Turkish banks, given many companies have borrowed heavily in foreign currency. While it was true USA sanctions on a few top Turkish officials over an American pastor being detained had put more pressure on the lira this past week, this was far from the main reason their currency has been falling so fast. On 26 July, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened sanctions if Brunson was not instantly released.

What's happening to Turkey's currency right now?

In 2017, 19 billion dollars worth of goods were traded between the US and Turkey. "Turkey has been trending towards authoritarianism & becoming more anti-American". Earlier it had fallen as much as 22 percent.

The Turkish lira fell around 16% against the United States dollar on the day, from $0.18 to $0.15 as of 3pm BST.

The move could affect $1.7 billion of Turkish exports.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan struck a defiant note in a series of Twitter messages shortly before Trump's announcement.

And of course, Brunson and the other detainees, including local staff of the USA diplomatic mission and various persons thought in some cases to be Gulenist Turkish-Americans, would have to be released.

New Finance Minister Berat Albayrak - Erdogan's son-in-law - rolled out the government's new economic plan on Friday, promising central bank independence and tighter budget discipline, but giving few details to reassure investors. It pegged its total credit exposure to Turkey at $2.53 billion at the end of June, nearly entirely with non-sovereign counterparties or borrowers, and said it had $2.05 billion of Turkish collateral. The president, who says a shadowy "interest rate lobby" and Western credit ratings agencies are attempting to bring down Turkey's economy, appealed to his countrymen's patriotism. There are fears that European markets are more exposed to Turkey shocks than has been priced in, while traders are jumping on any opportunity to sell the pound at present.

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