Turkey Currency Fall Increases Concerns Among Investors in Emerging Markets
Fall In Lira
Reports indicate that emerging-markets investors have begun taking steps in preparation for an unstable start of a trading week. Their moves are coming the week after the weekend characterized by increased rhetoric which revived trade tensions as well as a deeper slide in the currency of Turkey.
Lira reportedly collapsed last week and plunged to a historic low yesterday evening. For this year, the lira has gone down with over 40% while yields from bonds have increased drastically. The combination of those occurrences has pushed Turkey extremely close to a financial crisis. Its current economic vulnerabilities vary from vast levels of foreign-currency debt, surging borrowing costs and current-account deficit.
On Friday, the U.S. President reportedly doubled the steel tariffs it imposed on Turkey. The increased tariffs stood as a departure from the U.S.’ typical position which is usually to bring a calming effect to global markets in a period of financial crisis in emerging markets, particularly when investors have the contagion fear.
According to reports, the tariffs on steel imports from Turkish increased to 50% while tariffs on aluminum rose to 20%. This decision further worsened the drop of the Lira and increased market concerns that the weak currency could increase fragility. The fear of a worsened financial crisis was heightened by the state of the economy which has made it more difficult for the indebted corporate sector to repay its foreign and domestic loans.
The officials of the Trump administration indicated that the underlying intention was to boost the US aluminum and steel industry. However, sources posit that the actions came after a series of steps the administration undertook recently to increase the pressure levied on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to restore freedom to U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson.
Brunson has reportedly been in the Turkish government detention since 2016 on charges of espionage. Some officials have noted that the increased tariffs had nothing to do with the case of Mr. Brunson. However, Trump in a tweet appeared to draw a connection between the tariffs and the sour relationship between the nations.
Reports have it that White House officials have failed to comment on the wider strategy to be adopted to address the instability in the global currency market. They also declined to comment on the economic reasons underlying the increased tariffs.
Investors, on the other hand, are reportedly on the lookout for the reaction of emerging-market for this new trading week. According to the chief investment officer, Commonwealth Financial Network, Brad McMillan, the impact of the financial situation in Turkey has affected Russia, Brazil, and Argentina.
Effects of Increased Tariffs
Speaking on several occasions in Turkey, Turkey President mentioned that the decision of president Trump to impose more tariffs could soil years of partnership between the two countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He also mentioned that the fall in the country’s currency was not a reflection of the reality of Turkey’s economy.
According to the chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors, Jack Ablin, Trump’s refusal to embrace turkey stood as a notable departure from past policy practices. Ablin also indicated that he would be monitoring the extent of spillover into any other emerging market. Credit Suisse Group’s head of global currency strategy, Shahab Jalinoos, noted that in the past when there had been currency issues, the major assumption in the market was that the US would offer its assistance. He, however, added that with the recent happenings such assumption could not longer hold.
Analysts indicate that collapses in foreign exchanges could cause danger for emerging markets especially in cases when they have borrowed vast sums in dollars. Trump has stated that the policies have contributed to the strength of the American economy.
Trump has reportedly brought back long age dormant policies and blocked imports he deems to be threatening to the US economy. Also, he has allegedly ignored warnings that such moves could affect the global trading system.
Sources report that the tariffs imposed were not only on Turkey but on almost all exporters of metals globally. The administration reportedly imposed tariffs of about 25% on steel and also 10% on aluminum as it operated under a move that gives presidents the opportunity to block interests deemed a threat to national security.
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