Turkey launches probe into ‘fake news’ over lira rumors

A Kuwaiti man holds a one US dollar bill next to a five Turkish lira banknote at a currency exchange

Turkey has plan to ease market concerns, minister says, as lira plunges again

The announcement came in his address to a symposium organized by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) on the 17th foundation anniversary of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

The economic troubles in Turkey have gripped global financial markets, with investors scrambling to determine whether and how far pain there would spread.

"We (also) have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced a punitive doubling of tariff rates on steel and aluminum products from Turkey to 50 percent and 20 percent respectively. "There is no economic reason for the present (currency plunge) situation".

Except that the fall in the Turkish lira, which earlier on Monday fell by a further 11% against the USA dollar to take its fall this year to more than 40%, has focused the minds of investors on what other economies may have similar characteristics, such as high levels of corruption and an unwillingness to tackle it among the political elite, or a high current account deficit and excessive reliance on overseas investors.

Poland, more than half of whose government, household and corporate debt is denominated in foreign currencies, has seen the zloty fall by nearly as much since the beginning of August.

Meanwhile, Turkey moved to take legal action against hundreds of social media accounts it accused of provoking the lira's plunge.

Brunson, who has been held since 2016, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of allegedly aiding Kurdish separatists and a group that Erdogan blames for a failed 2016 coup attempt against him.

"For the time being Turkey's financial crisis looks localised but the country's central bank has perhaps only days to stop the decline of the currency before the lira's freefall results in loan defaults, starts seriously affecting the country's financial system and potentially starts spilling over onto European banks", she said.

Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, said the dollar has strengthened because economic growth has picked up and other regions aren't doing as well.

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The contagion is also spreading via mechanisms other than the currency markets.

Soner Cagaptay, director of Turkish research programme at the Washington Institute, said the confrontation has now become between the leaders of the two countries, particularly over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Experts said that despite a slight rebound in the lira's value yesterday, following support from Turkey's central bank, further falls could follow, making holidays even cheaper.

The lack of interest-rate action has coincided with a marked worsening of Turkey's relations with the US.

After several hours of volatile trading, the Turkish lira has settled around 6.87 lira to the USA dollar.

The fresh lira collapse on Sunday night hit Asian shares, weakened the South African rand and drove demand in global markets for safe currencies including the dollar, Swiss franc and yen.

Erdogan says Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency.

Investors are anxious that Turkish companies that borrowed heavily to profit from a construction boom may struggle to repay loans in dollars and euros, since the weakened lira means there is now more to pay back.

He also said the government had no plans to seize foreign currency deposits or convert deposits to the Turkish lira.

The falling Lira would hit Turkish companies that have to repay foreign currency debt estimated at more than 200 billion USA dollars.

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