President Trump Authorizes Doubling of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Turkey

11 August, 2018, 04:55 | Author: Eric Barnett
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Mr. Trump tweeted Friday morning.

Trump said Friday on Twitter that he authorized a new 20 percent tariff on aluminum and 50 percent tariff on steel from Turkey. The currency's slide deepened early Friday, after the Financial Times reported that the eurozone's chief financial watchdog was concerned about how some of Europe's biggest lenders would be affected by a crisis in Turkey.

Ankara and Washington, NATO allies, have been at loggerheads over the detention in Turkey of United States evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges, prompting United States sanctions on two of Erdogan's ministers and threats of trade restrictions.

"It's pretty remarkable how far the Trump administration is willing to go - putting at jeopardy the relationship with a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally over a preacher".

Meanwhile, investors are anxious about the economic policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who won a new term in office in June with sweeping new powers.

"If you have dollars, euros or gold under your pillow, go to banks to exchange them for Turkish lira", he said on national television. "This is a national, domestic battle", he said. "Hopefully we will overcome this disaster and we will also successfully overcome this economic war", Erdogan said.

Turkey's financial crisis and further USA pressure spurred more concern among investors as fears appeared to spread to American markets.

Officials from Mr Erdogan's office said the two men "expressed pleasure" that relations between Turkey and Russian Federation were progressing "positively" amid joint defence and energy projects. In his speech in the northeastern city of Bayburt, Erdogan added that he would decisively defend the country against economic attacks.

Turkey's currency fell Friday after its economy was rattled by the United States' move to slap the country with more tariffs.

In a day of extraordinary volatility the lira lost as much as 20 percent, crashing to a record low of 7 to the dollar, before paring losses to trade at 6.36 at 1513 GMT. As the currency drops, Turkish companies and households with debt in foreign currencies see their debts expand. The central bank, officially independent, appears to have heeded Erdogan and has not raised rates when many - including the International Monetary Fund - said it should have. They do not fully exclude an option of a massive hike by the TCMB and believe that probability of capital controls has greatly increased.

With central banks holding down interest rates, currency traders are the new economic enforcers, as Friday's volatile markets showed. As the lira continues to weaken, this foreign debt becomes increasingly hard and expensive for Turkey to manage, which should further exacerbate the currency's decline.

An artificially low interest rate environment has contributed to additional ongoing pressures on the Turkish lira. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite was down 83 points, or 1.1%, poised to end an eight-day winning streak.


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