Friday, August 10, 2018

Market update : Turkish Lira Rattles Investors Around the Globe (10 August 2018)

The S&P 500 started the week on a positive note, extending last week's winning streak and coming within 0.5% of its January 26 record high (26-Jan-18 close 2872. However, the index struggled in the back half of the week, especially on Friday amid a sharp drop in the Turkish lira, eventually settling with a weekly loss of 0.3% -- its first weekly loss since late June.
  • The Turkish lira tumbled to a record low against the dollar largely over worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates in the face of high inflation, and a deepening rift with the United States. President Trump doubled tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey, deepening the currency's losses and raising concerns that the crisis could weigh on other economies. 
  • Turkey is now facing the most serious financial crisis since Mr Erdogan took office 15 years ago.  The decline in the Turkish lira and rising borrowing costs cause a big headache for many Turkish companies, as they have borrowed in foreign currency despite receiving revenues in local currency.
  • In a tumultuous day on the financial markets, the lira tumbled by 14.3% against the dollar to TL6.47 from the previous New York close. At one stage it fell as much as 18.5%. The currency has lost more than 40% of its value so far this year. The lira’s implosion rippled across other emerging market currencies, pulling the likes of the South African rand, the Argentine peso and the Russian rouble lower by between 1.5 and 3.5%.

$SPY since the 2016 Election (21 months) with Fibonacci retracement. 





$SPX - 6 months



President Trump added to the pressure when he made a shock announcement on Twitter. “I have just authorised a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!” he tweeted. “Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

Turkish lira

  • Mr Erdogan urged Turks to stand firm and defend their currency. “If there is anyone who has dollars, euros or gold under the pillow, he should go and convert this at the bank,” Mr Erdogan said.
  • He also held talks by telephone with Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss economic and commercial ties.


  • Here's how Turkey's currency has fallen against the dollar in the past 10 years – and some reasons for the fall. 

    Other currencies - largest ETFs


    Fri 8/10/18 perf, weekly charts (daily charts, monthly charts)

    Country ETFs - largest drops


    Fri 8/10/18 perf, weekly charts (daily chartsmonthly charts)

    Euro banks
    European banks who have lent to Turkey are feeling the heat. Spanish banks have the biggest total exposure, with more than 30% of total foreign claims on Turkey--about double what it was in early 2013. French banks are next at about 15%, with UK banks accounting for 7% of total foreign claims.


    • The Financial Times reported that the European Central Bank is concerned about eurozone banks' exposure to Turkey because of the tanking lira. The ECB declined to comment.
    • Data from the Bank for International Settlements show eurozone banks have loans worth over $150 billion in Turkey. Spanish, French and Italian banks are the most exposed.
    • Shares in some of Europe's biggest banks were hard hit on Friday. Italy's UniCredit (UNCFF) shed 5.6% and Spanish lender BBVA (BFR) dropped 5.5%. France's BNP Paribas (BNPQF) was off by 4.3% and Deutsche Bank (DB) fell 5.3%.


    The  Evangelical preacher  Andrew Brunson was  released from prison in July 2018.  The Trump administration had thought that it had secured a deal to release the pastor, but Turkey instead put him under house arrest, which angered Washington.


    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president and former prime minister of Turkey.

    Under Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has lifted restrictions on public expression of religion, including ending the ban on women wearing Islamic-style headscarves.
    • Born: February 26, 1954;  Istanbul, Turkey
    • 2003-2014 - Serves as prime minister.
    • August 10, 2014 - Erdogan is elected president during the first-ever direct elections.
    • July 15-16, 2016 - During an attempted coup by a faction of the military, at least 161 people are killed and 1,140 wounded. Erdogan addresses the nation via FaceTime and urges people to take to the streets to stand up to the military faction behind the uprising. He blames the coup attempt on cleric and rival Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
    • June 24, 2018 - Is re-elected president.
    • The Turkish economy has expanded rapidly this year compared with 2017. But its growth in recent years has been fueled by construction financed largely by foreign investors.
    • The European Central Bank expressed concern about the country when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected in a snap vote in June and whose growing power has raised questions about the independence of the country’s central bank.


    U.S. - Turkey grievances (military and political)
    • An evangelical preacher, Andrew Brunson,  is one of about 20 Americans, including a NASA scientist and chemistry professor from Pennsylvania, who have been swept up in Mr. Erdogan’s crackdown since the failed coup two years ago. 
    • Mr. Brunson who was applying for Turkish permanent residency, having lived there 23 years, was imprisoned on October 7, 2016, accused of being a member of the G├╝len movement, which the Turkish government considers to be a terrorist organization.  On July 26, 2018, US Vice President Pence called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release Brunson or face significant sanctions.  President Trump has raised the pressure over the issue because he wants to appeal to Evangelical voters ahead of November midterm elections.
    • Turkey is a major player in the Middle East that’s engaged in war.  American support for Kurds and backing of Kurdish terrorists in Syria, the number one enemy of Turks, has galvanized Turks against the US, now broadly seen as Turkey's enemy. America's gungho pro-Saudi/pro-Israeli pivot & participation in the ongoing genocide in Yemen isn't helping; Turkey sees itself as the moderate leader of the Islamic world and Saudi Arabia as a dangerous rival. 
    • Trump's abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal is another sore point; nearly half of Turkey's oil imports come from Iran, and the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran hurts Turkey's economy.
    • American relations with Turkey were further aggravated by Mr. Erdogan’s embrace of Russia, particularly when Turkey signed a deal in  September 2017 to purchase Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air-missile system. The deal would mean Russian military technicians operating in NATO’s backyard. What especially irked the United States was that Turkey had also been in the midst of purchasing American F-35 joint strike fighters. Congress has since moved to block deliveries unless Turkey cancels the Russia deal. 
    • Mr. Erdogan says the 2016 coup was orchestrated from the United States, and specifically by a Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, from his self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Turkish authorities have demanded that he be extradited, something American officials have dismissed, and the detained Americans are widely seen as bargaining chips.

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