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Turkish lira plunges after Erdogan defends rate cuts

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ANKARA Turkey’s currency weakened by around 10% against the US dollar on Tuesday, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted there would be no turning back to his unconventional policies reduction in interest rates despite high inflation.

The lira dipped to a record low of 13.44 against the dollar before recovering some of its losses. It was trading at 12.51 against the dollar late in the afternoon, down 9.9% from Monday’s close and 14.08 against the euro. The pound has lost about 40% of its value since the start of the year.

Erdogan, who had declared himself an enemy of high borrowing costs, described his economic policies as an economic war of independence during a televised address to the nation late at night. He made it clear that his government would not abandon its policy of lowering borrowing rates to stimulate growth.

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Contrary to traditional economic theory, Erdogan argues that high interest rates cause inflation. Typically, central banks increase these rates to contain rising consumer prices.

Either we were going to give up investments, production, growth and jobs respecting the understanding that has prevailed in our country for years, or we were going to engage in a historic struggle in line with our priorities, said Erdogan. . As always, we preferred wrestling.

We are determined to do what is right for our nation, he continued. We encourage investment, production and exports. … We protect jobs. … We care about growth.

The Central Bank of Turkey has cut interest rates by 4 percentage points since September, raising concerns about its independence from Erdogan’s government. The president has sacked three bank governors since 2019.

Inflation is around 20%, eroding the purchasing power of the public.

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Dozens of people marched on a busy street in the capital Ankara on Tuesday, accusing Erdogan of mismanagement of the economy and calling for the resignation of his government, the Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

Ahmet Davutoglu, a former prime minister who split from Erdogan’s ruling party and formed his own political movement, called on the Turkish leader to change course.

Do not continue on this wrong path, you are damaging the country and the economy, he said, after holding an emergency meeting to discuss the fall of the pound with Kemal Kilicdargolu, the head of the principal. Turkish opposition party.

Kilicdaroglu criticized Erdogan’s apparent influence over the Central Bank.

The institution which is responsible for price stability cannot ensure price stability. He became a spectator. His powers were taken from him, he said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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