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Trump OKs stiffer tariffs on Turkish metals as lira plummets
11 August 2018, 05:55 | Darnell Patrick
The lira went into free-fall sinking more than 10 percent
A widening rift with the United States, its main North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, and President Tayyip Erdogan's grip on monetary policy under a new powerful executive presidency have helped to drive the lira down by more than 40 percent this year, a particular vulnerability for Turkish banks as over a third of their lending is in foreign currencies.
Relations between Washington and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also have worsened because of the detention of three locally employed United States consular workers, trade matters and differences over Syria. USA stock markets also fell after his tweet. The Nasdaq composite was down more than 0.8 percent as technology stocks also dropped.
The lira, which has lost more than 40 per cent this year, hit a new record low after Trumpannounced he would punish Ankara in a wide-ranging dispute. Trump wrote. "Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%".
Turkey'slira sank as low as 20 percent against the US dollar Friday before settling at a 15 percent drop.
So, to hike tariffs on Turkey, Trump needed a reason why maintaining America's domestic metal industry required imposing even steeper tariffs on Turkish exports than were already in place.
An important emerging market, Turkey borders Iran, Iraq and Syria and has been mostly pro-Western for decades.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2018.
In the first three months of 2018, Turkish steel exports to the United States fell almost 50 percent over the same period in 2017, making it the only top-10 source of US steel imports to see a decrease, according to the US Commerce Department. "Section 232 tariffs are imposed on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security as defined in Section 232, independent of negotiations on trade or any other matter".
The Turkish foreign ministry hit back at Trump's comments, saying that the "only result will be harming our relationship" and vowing unspecified retaliation.
He added: "Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging".
It said it would support steel and aluminium exporters on all worldwide platforms, and the United States remained an important trade partner.
In the New York Timesarticle, Erdogan said: "Attempting to force my government to intervene in the judicial process is not in line with our Constitution or our shared democratic values".
But Turkey is not manipulating its currency; the lira is falling because the country is suffering from an economic crisis. Turkey wants Brunson to stand trial. Gulen denies the allegation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is appealing for calm as the country's currency plunges, urging people to change foreign money into local lira.
On Friday Turkey's finance minister and Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak unveiled a new economic approach, but it didn't do much to help the slipping lira. "Turkey will fight economic hitmen just as it fought the coup plotters".
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