Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Trump doubles tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, says relations 'not good'

Air Force Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker as it touches down on the flight line at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey Air Force Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker as it touches down on the flight line at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey
Rhonda Young | 11 August, 2018, 04:57

It hit a new record low after Trump announced he would punish Ankara in a wide-ranging dispute.

Prior to Trump's announcement, the Turkish lira fell to its lowest point ever against the USA dollar on Friday.

Compounding the lira's agony, President Donald Trump said he had doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, noting that relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies were "not very good".

United States stocks fell Friday amid the geopolitical concerns that pushed the Turkish lira to the record low against the dollar. It is astonishing that no matter how punished the Lira looks, traders are showing absolutely no indication that they are finished with pricing in "bad news" into the market.

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have not been helped by Turkey jailing an American citizen for an alleged attempted coup in 2016.

The 50-year-old American pastor, who has been charged with "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups", was moved out of prison last month and placed under house arrest.

Brunson's cause resonates with Christian conservative supporters of Trump, who could also be influential as Republicans seek to retain control of Congress in midterm elections in November. While it was true US 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.

Erdogan called on Turks to not be concerned about exchange rate movements, mockingly declaring "the dollar, the mollar will not cut our path". "It is a national fight", he told a crowd in the northeastern city of Bayburt.

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"However, I say it once again from here".

Paul Greer at Fidelity International said dramatic interventions were now needed as Turkey faced a "downward spiral" of investor confidence.

On June 21, Turkey's retaliatory tariffs went into effect on 4 to 70 percent of more than $1 billion worth of USA goods.

Turkey said it would respond to the new USA tariff action "without delay" and warned the move would further harm relations between the two countries.

"There are various campaigns being carried out".

On Thursday, Mr Erdogan said: "If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah". We are working hard. "Look at what we were 16 years ago and look at us now", a reference to his terms as prime minister and president.

New Finance Minister Berat Albayrak - Erdogan's son-in-law - acknowledged that the central bank's independence was critical for the economy, promising stronger budget discipline and a priority on structural reforms.

And it remains unclear if the bank would be willing to sharply lift rates, with analysts saying the nominally independent institution is under the influence of Erdogan, who wants low rates to keep growth humming.

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The currency drop will also increase the cost of living for people in Turkey by making imports more expensive.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a meeting of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, Turkey August 4, 2018.

Erdogan has been putting pressure on the central bank not to raise interest rates in an attempt to help borrowers.

Where has Erdogan's "economic miracle" gone? .

Others feared this would drive Turkey closer to Russian Federation, and possibly affect US-Turkish cooperation in Syria.

Carl Bildt, the former prime minister of Sweden who is now co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted on Friday: "To double key tariffs against an ally which is in a hard financial crisis is really brutal". There would be a transformation in the finance ministry with regards to taxation, he said.

The Turkish lira has fallen more than 10% against the dollar after a Turkish delegation in Washington failed to prevent United States sanctions. It was eight lira in 2006.

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