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giftedviz.com August 18, 2018


Turkey says Trump tariff move will harm ties, vows retaliation

11 August 2018, 06:26 | Austin Hogan

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President Donald Trump said in a tweet Friday that he would hit Turkey with additional tariffs, as their national currency continues to drop.

He said he had authorized higher tariffs on imports from the United States' NATO ally, imposing duties of 20 percent on aluminum and 50 percent on steel.

The currency slid almost 8 percent in relation to the dollar to a record low of 6.59 shortly after Trump announced the increase on metals duties on Twitter.

Turkey's economy is regarded as fragile because of its high debt, which the worldwide Monetary Fund estimates is 50 percent of its gross domestic product.

The euro was hurt after the Financial Times reported that the European Central Bank had concerns about banks in Spain, Italy and France and their exposure to Turkey's woes. In any case, economists warn that with the row with the United States injected into the mix, it will take far more than an increase in interest rates to reverse the downward trajectory of Turkey's once robust economy.

Henri Barkey, a professor of International Relations at Lehigh University who follows Turkey closely and has been critical of its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the new tariffs are "an unnecessary escalation at a time when the decline of Turkish lira was already putting pressure on Turkey".

'If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks.

The lira tumbled 13% in one day, to 6.51 per USA dollar, a massive move for a currency that will make the Turkish poorer and further shake worldwide investors' confidence in the country.

Erdogan said that there were "various campaigns being carried out" against the country.

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European and emerging-market equities bore the brunt of selling, with losses of more than 1 percent after the US escalated a diplomatic row that tipped Turkey's economy deeper into crisis. Conservative evangelical Protestants are a key constituency at home for U.S. President Donald Trump.

"All the steps taken against Turkey will be given a befitting response as they have been given before", he vowed. President Erdogan has pressured the central bank to maintain low interest rates by refraining from implementing much-needed hikes.

The lira was trading at 5.95 to the dollar, a loss on the day of 7.5 percent. Erdogan has appealed to the people to convert their dollars to liras, saying Turkey is in the midst of an "economic war" with the West.

The lira's slide came after a US delegation from Washington, D.C., left Turkey without making progress toward the release of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor detained by Erdoğan's government since 2016. Some 4 million displaced people, most them from Syria, are now living in Turkey.

Analysts suggest Erdogan could have Washington in mind, given Ankara is demanding the extradition of USA -based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for masterminding the botched 2016 military takeover.

Still, the sell-off may not be over after the government struck a defiant tone on Friday even after Trump's move.

There was some relief for the Turkish Lira later in the day, however, after Turkish Finance Minister, Berat Albayrak, announced a raft of measures aimed at reassuring markets about the country's financial resilience.

Erdogan's characteristic defiance in the face of the crisis has further unnerved investors. The currency has lost more than 30% of its value so far this year.

In June, the U.S. Senate passed a bill prohibiting Turkey from buying F-35 fighter jets because of Brunson's imprisonment and Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400 air defense system.



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