Turkish lira hits record low amid financial panic, rising USA tensions

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On Monday, the Turkish lira suffered its most significant drop in a decade following reports the Trump administration was considering ending Turkey's duty-free access to the US market.

Then, on Friday, just as the Turkish lira was in a state of free fall, U.S. President Donald Trump helped exacerbate Turkey's problems by announcing dramatically increased tariffs on metal imports from Turkey.

Turkey's trade ministry said the US tariff moves were against World Trade Organization rules.

Ankara and Washington, NATO allies, have been at loggerheads over the detention in Turkey of United States evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges, prompting USA sanctions on two of Erdogan's ministers and threats of trade restrictions.

It did not disclose details, but suggests Turkey might gravitate further away from its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies toward cooperation with Russian Federation, whose relations with the West are at their lowest since the Cold War. The lira fell further after Trump's tweet.

Turkey's currency, the Lira, plunged on Friday sparking concerns about the country's financial stability as investors anxious about Turkey's president's economic policies and a dispute with the U.S.

The currency is down 40 percent just this year, shaking worldwide investors' confidence in the country.

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

"This is a domestic and national struggle", Erdo─čan said, according to The Associated Press.

Trump's tweet Friday showed that in many cases, the political and economic factors overlap - Trump's decision to double sanctions on Turkey was made possible by a key trade law called Section 232 that gives the USA president very broad powers over tariffs in cases of national security.

But Erdogan, who had remained unusually silent until now as the lira crisis mounted, urged Turks to take matters into their own hands.

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

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and other media reports quote Erdogan as making the comment to a group of worshippers following traditional Muslim Friday prayers during a visit to the northern city of Bayburt.

Late on Friday, the rand was trading at more than R14 to the dollar, its worst point since a credit downgrade in November.

"Don't forget, if they have their dollars, we have our people, our God".

UBS chief economist for EMEA emerging markets Gyorgy Kovacs said a giant rate hike of 350-400 basis points would be "consistent with real rate levels that in the past helped to stabilise the currency" but warned a deal to normalise ties with the U.S. may also be needed.

He continued: "A painful admittance that his powers are outmatched by the forces of markets and that he may have misjudged the economic situation may be a lot to ask of the autocratic leader Erdogan, but the alternative is that the lira will meet the ground at terminal velocity; an impact that will damage the Turkish economy for years to come".

Aylin Ertan, a 43-year-old caterer in Ankara, said she was concerned over the future of her small business.

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