Turkish lira slumps to new record low as Donald Trump doubles tariffs

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Lindsay Graham of SC, said Trump's decision was retaliation against Turkey for not releasing Brunson.

"A US-induced crisis in Turkey will create a new martyr in the region, with far-reaching consequences which American congressmen and President Trump do not foresee", Bulent Gultekin, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the former Turkish Central Bank governor, told MEE.

Criticizing the state of the USA relationship with Ankara, Trump announced on Twitter that he had authorized a doubling of duties on aluminum and steel imported from Turkey, making them 20 percent and 50 percent respectively.

President Donald Trump administration announced that it would higher the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum over the detainment of American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in 2016.

The Turkish lira plunged on Friday, raising questions about the country's financial stability, as investors anxious about the president's unorthodox economic policies and a dispute with the United States that has led to sanctions.

The Turkish lira hit a record low of 6.24 per dollar on Friday, before recovering to 5.92 _ still down a whopping 7 per cent on the day.

President Tayyip Erdogan has told Turks to sell their gold and US dollars to support the country's currency which plunged after US President Donald Trump escalated a feud with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey by doubling tariffs on metals imports. Indeed, through Thursday, the Turkish lira had lost 32 percent of its value against the dollar just since the beginning of the year. USA stocks were also rattled.

Turkey wants the United States to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the coup attempt in which 250 people were killed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2018.

President Trump called Brunson an "innocent man of faith" who should be released immediately.

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Turkey's economy is regarded as fragile because of its high debt, which the worldwide Monetary Fund estimates is 50 percent of its gross domestic product. High level meetings in Washington between USA and Turkish officials ended this week without an apparent resolution.

The ripple effects of Turkey's spiraling currency crisis was felt globally as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 fell 0.8% and 0.5%, respectively, following Trump's tweet.

The collision results from inflexibility over two policies, the first being Erdogan's firm belief (against conventional economic theory) that high interest rates cause, rather than curb, inflation. Prices are already up 16 percent since a year ago and this week's drop will make that worse.

Turkey said it would respond to the new USA tariff action "without delay" and warned the move would further harm relations between the two countries.

"Do not worry!" He said Turkey was not afraid of "threats" and added Turkey had "alternatives" for economic cooperation in many places "from Iran, to Russian Federation, to China and some European countries". He returned to his familiar refrain of urging Turks to use their reserves of dollars, euros and gold to buy up lire.

The Canadian dollar weakened to a more-than two-week low against its USA counterpart as geopolitical risk rattled global financial markets, offsetting stronger-than-expected domestic jobs data.

"This is a national, domestic battle".

Turkey's treasury and finance minister Berat Albayrak - who is Mr Erdogan's son-in-law - tried to ease investor concerns during a conference, saying the government would safeguard the independence of the central bank.

All decisions about the way forward rest with Erdogan, and thus far, he seems undaunted.

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