Turkish lira intervention not needed, minister says


Turkish authorities don’t need to intervene in the currency market to arrest a slide in the lira’s value, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi said.

The lira will find its own level, Zeybekçi said in an interview with BloombergHT television on Wednesday.

Current levels for the lira, which sank to a record low of almost 4.16 per dollar on Wednesday, don’t reflect Turkey’s realities, he said.

“There is no need for anybody to be concerned,” Zeybekçi said.

The Turkish lira has slid 8 percent against the dollar since the start of the year and also hit a record low against the euro this week on concern that the country’s economy is overheating under government reforms to stimulate economic growth.

Zeybekçi said that first-quarter growth indicated that the economy may expand more than 7 percent this year after it grew 7.3 percent in 2017. Economic growth was balanced, he said, pointing to an increase in exports, which would reach $170 billion in 2018.

He said that Turkish firms who decide to restructure their foreign debts will not hurt the country’s economic performance. Companies owe about $230 billion in foreign loans and the debts become more difficult to repay as the currency weakens.

On inflation, Zeybekçi said the government will announce measures to deal with price rises in the meat industry, which were pushing the country’s inflation rate higher.

Inflation in Turkey stands at 10.2 percent, about three times the average for emerging markets. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government asserts that high interest rates are pushing up inflation and is calling on banks to reduce them to support economic growth.

Zeybekçi was picked by Erdoğan as economy minister in 2013, succeeding Zafer Çağlayan in a cabinet reshuffle following a corruption scandal. He was formerly mayor of the western Turkish city of Denizli and is a close associate of Erdoğan, who often stays at Zeybekçi’s home when he visits the city.

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