The Turkish Lira added 10% against the dollar and Euro from lows at the start of Wednesday. At the beginning of trading on Thursday, there was also a relative calm in the exchange rate performance. However, an important question to be answered in the coming days is how temporary this calm will be.
The fundamentals for the Turkish currency are unchanged: The Turkish central bank and the President continue to argue about the benefits of low-interest rates for the economy and benefits of competitiveness through a weaker currency. But it should not be forgotten that these factors only have a positive effect when the currency has stabilised, and the financial markets have a point of reference.
Right now, the economy is suffering a severe shock from a 40% devaluation of the Lira against the USD so far this month to yesterday low. Even worse, such rate hikes are shaping expectations for further depreciation and further spurring sales of the Lira. Retailers and manufacturers in such circumstances prefer to fix prices of goods in harder currencies, which causes a shock freeze in economic activity. The example of Apple’s retail shops being closed because of the Lira’s devaluation is striking but hardly the only one.
What we are likely seeing today, and perhaps for the next couple of days, is just a brief moment of stabilisation before a new wave of pressure on the Lira, which could continue right up to the policy changes. Whether it will be capital controls or rate hikes is an open question, but for sure, the answer won’t be easy.