Turkey's Currency, The Lira, Is Doing OK Despite Emerging Market Currency Woes - Here's Why

 @AlexCKaufman
on August 20 2013 12:38 PM
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Turkey's lira coins are seen in this picture illustration taken in Istanbul. Turkey's central bank raised interest rates on Tuesday and said it would, if necessary, take further steps to stop the lira from falling. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Emerging-market currencies are plummeting against the dollar amid concerns that the Federal Reserve will soon scale back its stimulus program. But the Turkish lira is standing out as one of the more robust emerging-market currencies in the Middle and Near East.

Indonesia’s rupiah fell for a fourth day as investors hedged bets that the flow of capital out of the country would continue. In India, the rupee dropped to 64.13 against the U.S. dollar in early trading on Tuesday, and JPMorgan Chase downgraded Indian equities to Neutral from Overweight. And headlines about China’s economic slowdown seem to proliferate faster than coastal factory cities did in its manufacturing export heyday.

But, thanks to quick intervention by the Central Bank of Turkey, the lira is looking up, an Istanbul-based economist told International Business Times.

“It raised overnight borrowing by 50 basis points to 7.75 percent today,” Sevin Ekinci, founder of Ekinci Economics Consulting, told IBTimes in an email on Tuesday. “This has eased pressure on the local currency, and the [lira] strengthened back to 1.94 against the U.S. dollar from 1.9550 in the previous day.”

Ekinci praised the central bank for acting swiftly, saying it demonstrated a “hands-on approach against possible triggers in emerging markets,” many of which, like Turkey, rely on foreign currencies to bolster its high currency account deficits.

“But while the Indian rupee, South African rand and Brazilian real have lost 14 to 17 percent against the U.S. dollar this year, the Turkish lira was down relatively lower by 8.5 percent,” Ekinci said. “This can be attributed to the decisive policy tightening stance of the [central bank].” 

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