Turkey's central bank raises interest rate to 24%

Postado Setembro 13, 2018

Brett Diment at Aberdeen Standard Investments said raising rates would put "Turkey on the slow road to recovering some monetary policy credibility, and that is critical".

Mr Erdogan, who has called himself an "enemy of interest rates", chose his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as finance minister in July.

The central bank's interest rate hike, which surprised investors with its magnitude, comes amid growing concerns that Erdoğan is pursuing policies that will eventually bankrupt the country.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com said: "This was a definite statement from policymakers, but the risk now is that the market tries to test the central bank's resolve: the horse may have already bolted".

"Accordingly, the Committee has chose to implement a strong monetary tightening to support price stability", the monetary policy committee statement said.

It vowed the tight stance in monetary policy would be "maintained decisively until inflation outlook displays a significant improvement".

Before today's interest rate decision, Mr Erdogan announced he was banning the use of foreign currencies in property sales, rental contracts and leasing transactions and ruled all such transactions must now be made in lira.

Ignoring calls for restraint from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the bank raised its main short-term rate from 17.5% following weeks of pressure from global investors. Late last month, South America's second-largest economy saw that rate jump to a staggering 60 percent in a bid to ease investor fears.

Its decision came despite Erdogan repeating his opposition to high interest rates earlier in the day, saying high inflation was a result of the central bank's wrong steps. "If you say 'inflation is cause, the rate is the result, ' you do not know this business, friend".

Anthony Skinner, director of Middle East and North Africa at Verisk Maplecroft, told AFP he believed the hike had already been agreed.

Turkey's currency crisis has been driven by concerns about Erdogan's influence on monetary policy, but also more recently by the country's diplomatic row with the United States.

The bank implemented what economists described as a hidden interest rate hike in mid-August, forcing banks to borrow at the higher 19.25 per cent through the overnight lending facility.

Key rates are now at their highest level since 2004, around a year after Erdogan first came to power.

"For a country that is in really deep distress like Turkey, what is important is to restore some of the independence of the central bank and take measures to stem the currency's fall".

Relations with the U.S. deteriorated last month after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the detention of an American pastor and President Donald Trump doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey.