Turkey’s lira steadies amid Erdogan’s move to boycott U.S. electronic products

Andrew Cummings
August 15, 2018

The extra tariffs apply to imports of vehicles, alcohol, coal, rice and cosmetics.

"Tax rates on imports of some products have been increased on a reciprocal basis against the United States administration's deliberate attacks on our economy", Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.

On Wednesday, the lira traded at 6.4125 to the United States dollar, weakening from a close of 6.3577 a day earlier.

Still, the currency is down almost 40 percent this month, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who sees Turkey as under economic attack, has declared that the country will boycott American electronic goods, singling out iPhones as an example.

Erdogan said the nation of 80 million people would stop buying American electronics, condemning the "explicit economic attack" against his country.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree Wednesday to raise tariffs on US imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco.

The Turkish central bank has pledged to take "all necessary measures" to stabilize the country's economy to make sure the banks have all the money they need.

Mr Brunson has denied charges of espionage, but faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

"We will boycott U.S. electronic goods", Erdogan said in a televised speech, raising the stakes in a spat that has seen the Turkish lira plunge to record lows.

The country's finance minister - who is also Mr Erdogan's son-in-law - will seek to reassure around 1000 worldwide investors in a teleconference scheduled for Thursday.

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on an official visit to Ankara, said the increased USA tariffs and sanctions imposed by Washington are "based on the desire to dominate everywhere in everything, to control worldwide affairs and to achieve unilateral advantages on global markets". A higher court was however, was scheduled to review the appeal, the agency said.

In a televised speech on Friday, he called on Turkish citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for lira, calling it an "economic war".

The Turkish lira rebounded 6% in Tuesday trading, haven fallen 25% in the past month, weighed down by the spat with the United States and wider concerns about the country's stalling economy.

On Tuesday the White House said President Trump was frustrated that Turkey had not released Andrew Brunson, the evangelical pastor held on terrorism charges that Washington believes are fabricated.

The political spat with Washington has added to pressure on Turkey's currency, the lira, which has plunged against the dollar.

Turkey's ambassador to Washington Serdar Kilic held talks with USA national security advisor John Bolton in a meeting which Ankara said was arranged by the White House.

The ruckus between Turkey and the United States has impacted on other countries' currencies, including the Indian rupee, as investors fear the lira's wobbles could spread to developing nations.

"We have so far seen that the USA administration has engaged in quarrels with countries and global institutions like Canada, Mexico, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Cuba, Germany or NATO", Kalın said.

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