Turkish lira banknotes. File picture: Murad Sezer
Turkish lira banknotes. File picture: Murad Sezer

Turkey's lira and China stocks slip back into reverse

By Reuters Time of article published Aug 8, 2018

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LONDON - Turkey’s lira and Chinese shares - the two main pressure points for emerging markets in recent months - were dragged back into the red on Wednesday by souring relations with the United States.

China’s main bourses retreated more than 1 percent as news that Washington will slap 25 percent tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods in two weeks’ time offset some better-than-expected trade data.

The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.3 percent and the blue-chip CSI300 index ended 1.6 percent lower, giving back roughly half the ground made on Tuesday in their best day in over two years.

The yuan had also faded to 6.8198 per dollar late on in the spot market, having initially strengthened as the People’s Bank of China guided the currency higher with its daily fixing.

Even more clear was the strain on Turkey’s lira again, amid concerns about the government’s handling of the economy and a row with Washington over a U.S. pastor Ankara accuses of being part of the country’s 2016 coup attempt.

The currency recoiled almost 1 percent to 5.2830 per dollar in Istanbul trading as the government’s main dollar-denominated bonds and bank bonds saw fresh selling and credit default swap (CDS) levels rose. .

“The big question is whether they will have an improvement with the relationship with the U.S.,” said Credit Agricole’s senior emerging market strategist Guillaume Tresca.

“Any kind of talk saying that maybe they will let the U.S. pastor out could be enough just to help the lira a little bit. But it will be very short lived,” he added, saying inflation, an overheating economy and weak institutions remained the underlying worry.

Lira volatility gauges were back at their highest in almost a month, and Turkish bank shares and bonds were also falling again.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs warned on Tuesday that big banks there could see all their excess capital wiped out if the lira dropped as far as 7.1 versus the dollar.

Elsewhere, most markets were sticking in small ranges, with the European and U.S. summer holiday seasons in full swing.

India’s central bank will need to gradually tighten monetary policy further due to rising inflation, driven mainly by higher oil prices and a falling rupee, the International Monetary Fund cautioned, though there was little market reaction.

MSCI’s 24-country benchmark for almost $2 trillion of stocks, scored its third rise in the last four days as the rest of Asia made up for China’s drop and eastern Europe and South Africa offset falls in Russia.

Hungary’s forint and Poland’s zloty continued their strong runs, which have seen them both climb around 3.5 percent against the euro over the last month.

Data showed Hungarian headline inflation hitting a 5-1/2-year high of 3.4 percent year-on-year in July from 3.1 percent in June.


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