Turkish lira hits fresh record low with 8.4850 against dollar ahead of US vote

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The Turkish lira touched a fresh record low on Tuesday ahead of a US election that could strain bilateral ties, weakening after data showed annual inflation near 12 percent despite central bank moves to tighten policy.

The lira - the worst performer in emerging markets this year - weakened as much as 0.5 percent to 8.4850 against the dollar from Monday’s close of 8.4400.

The currency is down 30 percent so far this year on concerns about possible Western sanctions against Turkey, depleted reserves, double-digit inflation and monetary independence.

Analysts say relations between Ankara and Washington could be further strained if Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate and front-runner, wins the US presidential election on Tuesday.

“If you look at the lira it is not expensive, but there is a policy credibility issue,” said Aberdeen Standard Investments portfolio manager Viktor Szabo. “They are running up against a lack of reserves - they really have their backs against the wall.”

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The central bank unexpectedly held its policy rate steady last month at 10.25 percent, while raising the top limit of its rates corridor to 14.75 percent to retain flexibility.

“The way they are tightening is not credible. They are widening the corridor so they can shift rates up, but it also means they likely will bring them down again,” said Szabo.

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Turkish lira slips to new record low for 8th day straight

Turkish central bank raises 2020 inflation forecast higher to 12.1 percent

On Tuesday the central bank raised the lira interest rate in the swap market for dollars and gold to 13.25 percent from 11.75 percent. A day earlier it announced it was reducing to zero the borrowing limits at its interbank money market.

The bank’s so-called backdoor steps to tighten liquidity and fund the market through a higher rate have pulled the average cost of funding up to 13.45 percent as of Monday.

High inflation has also been an important factor pressuring the lira. Data on Tuesday showed consumer price inflation rose to 11.89 percent year-on-year in October, in line with a poll forecast, maintaining pressure for tight monetary policy.

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