Er­do­gan urges Turks to con­vert for­eign cur­rency to lira

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan urged Turks yes­ter­day to con­vert their for­eign cur­ren­cies into gold and lira to stim­u­late the coun­try’s econ­omy as the lira con­tin­ued its slide against the dol­lar.

“For those who have for­eign cur­ren­cies un­der the pil­low, come change this to gold, come change this to TL (Turk­ish lira). Let the lira win greater value. Let gold win greater value,” he said dur­ing a tele­vised speech in Ankara. “What ne­ces­sity is there to let for­eign cur­rency have greater value?” he asked. How­ever, as he de­liv­ered his speech, the lira lost value against the US dol­lar, reach­ing lows of 3.51.

Af­ter his ad­dress, it was trad­ing at 3.55 against the green­back, a loss of over 1.5 per­cent in value on the day. In Novem­ber alone, the lira haem­or­rhaged more than 10 per­cent against the dol­lar.

He also sug­gested that there were forces “play­ing games” against Tur­key, which Turks could counter by chang­ing their money. He did not say whom he was re­fer­ring to. “Don’t worry, in a short while, we will de­stroy this game.” The Turk­ish cur­rency was also re­act­ing to Er­do­gan’s re­peated in­sis­tence on low­er­ing in­ter­est rates be­cause, he claims, there is “no other rem­edy”. He re­ferred to the United States, Ja­pan and Europe as ex­am­ples of where rates are low and ques­tioned why Tur­key still had such high rates.

Af­ter sev­eral months this year of rate cuts, the cen­tral bank stepped in with an un­ex­pected hike of 50 ba­sis points in its lead­ing rate last month. But con­cerns over Tur­key’s po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, in­clud­ing the gov­ern­ment’s race to ex­pand Er­do­gan’s pow­ers, as well as its crack­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Euro­pean Union meant a rally in the lira was short­lived af­ter the bank’s an­nounce­ment. — AFP

IS­TAN­BUL: A man changes money at a change of­fice yes­ter­day in Is­tan­bul. Turks have over the past three months ner­vously watched the steady de­cline in value of the Turk­ish lira against the dol­lar, see­ing it haem­or­rhage more than 10 per­cent in the past month alone. —AFP

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