Turkey's central bank raises interest rate to 24%


Turkey's central bank raises interest rate to 24%

The monetary policy committee said deterioration in pricing behaviour continued to pose upside risks on the inflation outlook, despite weaker domestic demand conditions.

"Erdogan's comments clearly show that he does not support this and it becomes much more hard, if not impossible, for the Turkish central bank to tighten enough to stabilize the lira and get inflation under control", Esther Reichelt, a forex strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, told DW.

"Turkey's Wealth Fund has appointed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its new chairman, according to a notification in the Official Gazette", state news agency Anadolu said.

"Accordingly, the Committee has made a decision to implement a strong monetary tightening to support price stability", the monetary policy committee statement said. The lira has lost roughly 40 percent of its value against the US dollar this year, and its inflation rate sits at about 18 percent.

"Hiking today does get Turkey on the slow road to recovering some monetary policy credibility, and that is critical".

The main refinancing rate, which determines the cost of credit in the economy, remained unchanged at 0.00 percent while the rate on the marginal lending facility - the emergency overnight borrowing rate for banks - remains at 0.25 percent.

Erdogan past year said the fund needed a "reorganisation" after the first chairman Mehmet Bostan was removed from his post in September 2017. In fact, he calls himself the "enemy of interest rates", and was even pushing for lower rates as recently as Thursday morning.

"Obviously, it will have negative consequences on the economy but, I would say, it is less important if you have a hard landing than big corporate defaults due to a vicious cycle between (lira) depreciation and inflation", he said.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) raised the rate from 17.75% to 24%, significantly higher than the analysts' consensus of 21%, and in apparent defiance of the president, who has regularly expressed resistance to raising rates.

The embattled currency has fallen by 40% this year amid a lack of interest rate hikes to control inflation.

The bank´s intervention was the latest aggressive rate hike to calm economic turbulence in an emerging market after the Argentinian central bank´s recent hike from 45 to 60 percent on August 30.

"Great decision - made all the more hard by the huge pressure on the central bank from Erdogan", said Bluebay Asset Management LLC strategist Tim Ash. Subsequently, the lira lost about 25 per cent of its value while authorities have taken a series of steps to support it, with the bank taking liquidity measures and the banking watchdog limiting derivative transactions.

In a bid to shore up the Turkish lira, Erdoğan's government issued a decree on Thursday banning the use of foreign currency in the sale and renting of property and the leasing of vehicles.