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Turkey bans use of foreign currency in property market

13 September 2018

"Inflation expectations, pricing behavior, lagged impact of recent monetary policy decisions, contribution of fiscal policy to the rebalancing process, and other factors affecting inflation will be closely monitored and, if needed, further monetary tightening will be delivered", the statement said.

The bank had not touched interest rates since early June with markets concerned that the policy of the nominally independent bank is being dictated by Erdogan.

Right before the bank acted, Erdogan decried high interest rates as a "tool of exploitation".

He also announced all business deals inside the country must now be conducted in lira with only exporters and importers allowed to come into contact with foreign currency.

"Accordingly, the Committee has chose to implement a strong monetary tightening to support price stability", the monetary policy committee statement said.

The lira reacted strongly to the decision, rising by five percent to the U.S. dollar.

A "tight stance in monetary policy will be maintained decisively until inflation outlook displays a significant improvement", it added.

There had been indications from Turkey's central bank that it would raise rates, after inflation came in at almost 18% in August, according to official data.

The bank is also fighting a losing battle against inflation with annual consumer price inflation hitting 17.9 percent last month, its highest level since late 2003.

"It nearly seems like it's a game of "good cop, bad cop" being played out between the Turkish authorities - with President Erdogan on the one hand still making statements regarding his dislike of interest rates and. a very sizeable reaction from the central bank in response to the recent inflationary and geopolitical developments".

"Obviously, it will have negative consequences on the economy but, I would say, it is less important if you have a hard landing than big corporate defaults due to a vicious cycle between (lira) depreciation and inflation", he said.

Anthony Skinner, director of Middle East and North Africa at Verisk Maplecroft, told AFP he believed the hike had already been agreed.

The central bank said it was returning to funding via one-week repos from Friday, having funded the market at an overnight lending rate of 19.25 per cent for the last month. And on the morning of the rate hike decision, Erdogan was busy.

The bank later said on Twitter that funding would be provided via the policy rate, the one week repo auction rate, instead of through overnight lending from September 14.

TRT World journalist Mobin Nasir has the latest on the Turkish central bank's decision to increase interest rates to 24 percent.

A growing crisis became acute earlier this year following the detention of an American pastor on espionage and terror-related charges, which prompted Donal Trump to double the import tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium.

Turkey bans use of foreign currency in property market