Dollar hovers near 13-month peak on concerns over lira

People holding U.S. dollars stand in front of a currency exchange office after Erdogan’s call to sell dollar savings to support the lira in Ankara Turkey Aug.14 2018

"We will protect the lira, we will march with the lira and the lira will strengthen greatly in the coming period", he told members of President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party.

Turkey's crisis has been sparked by a series of issues, including a faltering economy - the central bank has defied market calls for rate hikes - and tensions with the United States, which has hit Ankara with sanctions over its detention of an American pastor.

The dollar held firm near a 13-month high against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday after safe-haven demand on fears over fallout from the Turkish lira's recent drop boosted the United States currency.

The United States on Wednesday ruled out removing steel tariffs that have contributed to a currency crisis in Turkey even if Ankara frees a us pastor, as Qatar pledged $15-billion in investment to Turkey, supporting a rise in the Turkish lira.

Investors are anxious not only about Turkey's souring relations with the USA, a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, but also Erdogan's economic policies and the country's high debt accumulated in foreign currencies.

Investors slowly edged back into buying mode but they are keeping a nervous eye on developments in Ankara after Monday's bloodletting that saw the lira hit record lows against the dollar and euro, and equity markets go into freefall on concerns Turkey's financial crisis could spread globally.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Monday met Turkey's ambassador to the United States to discuss Brunson's detention. Independent economists say Erdogan should let the central bank raise interest rates to support the currency, but he wants low rates to keep the economic growth going.

TUSIAD, the Turkish Industry and Business Association, and TOBB, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, urged "diplomatic efforts to urgently resolve the problems in the US-Turkey relationship", according to a report in The Financial Times.

The finance chief, Berat Albayrak is due to address hundreds of foreign investors on Thursday in a teleconference, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

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Turkey's exports to the United States a year ago amounted to $8.7 billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market. The White House called the Turkish response a step in the wrong direction and signaled a hard line on Brunson's release.

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The White House stance appeared to give Turkish authorities little incentive to work for the release of Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges and whose case Turkish officials have said was a matter for the courts. An upper court had yet to rule on the appeal, his lawyer told Reuters.

"However, within a few months Western banks that have strong ties with Turkey will feel the impact of the crisis as Turkish corporates will struggle to repay debt in foreign currency".

Independent economists caution it would be hard to unseat the dollar as the top reserve currency as it is used widely in the global economy, for example to trade in oil and for commercial deals.

Erdogan also has called on people to exchange their USA dollars for Turkish lira to help strengthen the exchange value of the country's currency.

It is noted that this decision was taken in response to U.S. sanctions.

Last week Trump said he was doubling tariffs on metal imports.

"The Turkish lira has finally found some support after two days of intense selling that triggered panic across the markets", said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com, adding that the lira had clawed back most of the previous day's losses. "I have a 16-year-old daughter".

"We (also) have our Venus and Vestel", he said about homegrown Turkish electronics brands. "That's why we are directly impacted in an extreme way".

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