Turkish lira hits record low as inflation spooks traders

September 5, 2020
Pressure grows on central bank to tighten credit after intervention fails to halt currency’s plunge

BENGALURU, India: The Turkish lira slipped to a record low on Friday on concerns around stubbornly high inflation, while emerging market stocks tumbled for a third straight session following a tech-fueled plunge on Wall Street overnight.

The lira eased 0.1 percent against the dollar to an all-time low of 7.4541, weakening for the fifth session in a row with pressure growing on the central bank to continue tightening credit a day after data showed year-on-year inflation of 11.77 percent.

The currency has lost about 20 percent this year despite central bank intervention and, along with Hungary’s forint, is among Europe’s worst performing currencies. The forint was a touch lower at 359.53 a euro on Friday as data showed industrial output dropped by an annual 8.1 percent in July.

“The underperformance of these currencies tells us about longer-term prospects: We think it is a template for which currencies would be vulnerable in a more sustained EM FX sell-off,” said Tatha Ghose, FX analyst at Commerzbank.

An index of emerging market currencies inched higher on Friday and was on course for its second straight week of gains due to earlier weakness in the dollar following the Federal Reserve’s new accommodative stance
on inflation.

The Russian rouble firmed for a second consecutive session following a 2.6 percent slide on Wednesday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned. Sources said that the EU was weighing new sanctions on Moscow over the poisoning.

In South Africa, the rand firmed 0.5 percent, but the return of nationwide electricity blackouts this week has kept the currency from making a major headway. State power utility Eskom said it would reduce power cuts on Friday due to lower demand and much improved weather.