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Monday 10 February 2020

Turkish Lira Rebounds from Sharp Sell-Off


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ISTANBUL (Reuters) — The Turkish lira rebounded in volatile trade on Monday to below 6 against the dollar, erasing much of Friday’s sharp losses, after a bank regulator announced new limits on foreign-exchange transactions.

Investors and traders said the currency’s abrupt sell-off and recovery, after weeks in a narrow range, suggested Turkish state banks were again intervening to buffer the lira after they sold tens of billions of dollars over the past year.

The BDDK bank regulator on Sunday cut the limit for Turkish banks’ forex swap, spot and forward transactions with foreign entities to 10% of their equity, from a 25% ceiling set in August 2018 during the worst of Turkey’s currency crisis. Friday’s lira weakness also came after the treasury minister suggested Turkey’s central bank could continue cutting rates, and as the Turkish military girded for more confrontation in Syria’s Idlib region.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 strengthened to as low as 5.975 against the dollar and was worth 5.9955 at 08:17 GMT. It had tumbled to 6.05 on Friday, its weakest level in regular trading since May, as a late-week rally in the dollar prompted a sell-off across emerging markets.

The BDDK’s new FX limits are one of a series of government steps taken to stabilize the currency after the 2018 crisis cut its value by 36% in two years and tipped Turkey’s economy into recession. While economic growth rebounded in the fourth quarter of last year, official data on Monday showed that unemployment remained elevated at 13.3%, down from 13.4% a month earlier.

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