Middle East

Turkish lira hits new record low after Erdogan election victory

By Reuters

Turkey’s lira hit fresh record lows against the US dollar on Monday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan secured victory in Sunday’s presidential election, extending his increasingly authoritarian rule into a third decade.

The lira weakened to 20.065 to the dollar in early European trade, breaking through the previous record low touched on Friday.

The lira has slumped around seven percent since the start of the year, and lost more than 90 percent of its value over the past decade, with the economy in the grip of boom-and-bust cycles and rampant bouts of inflation.

Since a 2021 currency crisis, Turkish authorities have taken an increasingly hands-on role in foreign exchange markets, with daily moves having become unnaturally small and mostly recording a weakening while foreign exchange and gold reserves have dwindled.

“Erdogan’s victory has seen further pressure on the Turkish lira,” said Benjamin Picton, senior macro strategist at Rabobank.

Erdogan prevailed despite years of economic turmoil which critics blame on unorthodox economic policies, which the opposition had pledged to reverse.

Meanwhile, Turkish stocks enjoyed gains with the benchmark BIST-100 index up 3.5 percent and banking index rising more than one percent. The share of foreign asset managers holding Turkish stocks has dwindled in recent years and the market is chiefly driven by local investors.

“An Erdogan win offers no comfort for any foreign investor,” said Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Tellimer. “Only the most optimistic would hope that Erdogan now feels sufficiently secure politically to revert to orthodox economic policy.”

Erdogan’s surprisingly strong showing in the first round of the election on May 14 triggered a selloff in Turkey’s international bonds and a spike in costs to insure exposure to its debt amid fading hopes of a change in economic policy.

The nation’s dollar bonds slipped to their lowest in at least six months last week, while the cost of insuring exposure to Turkey’s debt via credit default swaps (CDS) rose to a seven-month high.

On Monday, Turkey’s international bonds were steady while CDS were hovering at Friday’s closing level.

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