Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Turkey 'implores' Trump to return to table on tariffs

Greek lieutenant Aggelos Mitretodis and noncommissioned officer Dimitros Kouklatzis were arrested in Turkey Greek lieutenant Aggelos Mitretodis and noncommissioned officer Dimitros Kouklatzis were arrested in Turkey
Jodi Jackson | 11 August, 2018, 20:37

Trump said the tariffs on aluminum imports would be increased to 20 per cent and those on steel to 50 per cent as the Turkish Lira "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

In the New York Times, Erdogan warned Washington not to risk relations with Ankara, saying his country would otherwise look for "new friends and allies".

The Turkish economic woes and the USA sanctions were sparked by a diplomatic row between the two countries over the detention of an American pastor in Turkey. Sanctions and pressure would only serve to harm ties between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Hami Aksoy also said in a statement.

Trump's announcement came as Turkey's embattled lira hit new record lows against the U.S. dollar and euro, losing almost nine percent in value as strains with the United States showed no sign of abating and fears grew over the exposure of European banks.

The lira tumbled about 10 per cent on Friday to another record low as investors worry about Erdogan's unorthodox economic policies and U.S. sanctions.

That turned into a rout on Friday, with the lira diving more than 18 percent on the day and more than 40 percent this year to a new record low after Trump took steps to punish Turkey in a wide-ranging dispute.

"This is a domestic and national struggle", Erdoğan said, according to The Associated Press.

Economic experts believe the sharp fall of the lira is mainly because of concerns about the government's economic policies. Trump said in a post on Twitter.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Friday that he would hit Turkey with additional tariffs, as their national currency continues to drop.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost more than 270 points by 2:45 p.m. Friday, a 1 percent loss, while falling bank stocks dragged the S&P 500 index down roughly 0.9 percent. The weakened currency's value has helped increase inflation and anxious worldwide investors.

The White House also cited currency movements in China last week when Trump called for a possible increase in tariff rates on Chinese imports. A delegation of Turkish officials held talks with their counterparts in Washington this week but there was no sign of a breakthrough. The president, who says a shadowy "interest rate lobby" and Western credit ratings agencies are attempting to bring down Turkey's economy, appealed to his countrymen's patriotism.

The new set of economic steps are aimed at securing an economic growth of 3-4 percent in 2019, and decreasing the inflation rate to single digits, the ministry said in a press release on August 9.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt, Turkey, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. The predictable result is this has made inflation get out of control - it is up to 15.9 percent when they are supposedly trying to keep it to 5 percent - because the central bank has been so slow to raise rates, and, in fact, refused to do so at its most recent meeting.

Turning to the economic effects of the diplomatic row, Mr Erdogan said: "If they have the dollar, we have Allah". Minutes before Ankara learned about the higher tariffs, the lira had already hit an all-time low of 6.87 against the dollar.

This situation has led the European Central Bank to sound alarm bells warning that Turkey's currency problems could infect Europe's banks.

The latest escalation came as Turkey's Economy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law and a trusted lieutenant, unveiled what was touted as a new economic plan, pledging Central Bank independence, tighter budget discipline and sustainable and healthy growth.

Canada's main stock index also fell on Friday. "Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work", he said.

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