Turkey’s Erdogan calls interest rates mother of all evil, lira slides


ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for lower interest rates on Friday and described them as the “mother and father of all evil”, triggering a fresh slide in the lira as investors worried about the central bank’s ability to rein in high inflation.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a meeting of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, Turkey, May 11, 2018. Cem Oksuz/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 weakened as far as 4.3080 against the dollar after his comments from a close of 4.2374 on Thursday. On Wednesday it had hit a record low of 4.3780 before rebounding strongly the following day.

“If my people say continue on this path in the elections, I say I will emerge with victory in the fight against this curse of interest rates,” Erdogan said in Ankara, referring to snap elections being held on June 24.

“Because my belief is: interest rates are the mother and father of all evil,” he said in a speech to business people.

Thursday’s rebound was driven by news that Erdogan had held an unscheduled meeting of his economic team to address the sell-off in the lira, which has fallen more than 10 percent against the U.S. currency this year.

At the meeting, Erdogan and the economic team agreed to take measures to ease interest rate pressure and help shield the lira.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Ezgi Erkoyun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Toby Chopra

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