Turkey ETF Strengthens Alongside Lira Ahead of Policy Decision

Turkey country-specific exchange traded fund jumped Wednesday as the lira strengthened in response to expectations that the central bank will increase borrowing costs to get a handle on inflation and stabilize the currency.

Among the best-performing non-leveraged ETFs of Wednesday, the iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (NasdaqGM: TUR) gained 3.7%.

Ahead of a rate-setting meeting on Thursday, Turkey’s central bank on Tuesday halved banks’ borrowing limits for overnight transactions in the interbank money market, signaling that the market could see a higher rate of 11.25%, Reuters reports.

“A larger share of the refinancing now has to be covered at higher interest rates. So in many ways, it was equivalent to a rate hike: refinancing costs rose,” Ulrich Leuchtmann, an FX analyst at Commerzbank, told Reuters.

The action helped the lira currency strengthen 1.1% against the U.S. dollar to TRY7.2933 after hitting a record low of about TRY7.37 against the greenback. The lira has depreciated 20% and was the third-weakest global currency this year. The lira has been pummeled by concerns over costly state interventions in foreign exchange markets and Turkish demand for hard currencies, which hit a record high.

However, a majority of economists do not believe Turkey’s central bank will go through with a rate hike any time soon.

“For me, it’s still probably a little bit below 50 percent that they raise the policy rate,” Blaise Antin, head of emerging markets sovereign research at investment firm TCW, told Reuters. “While Turkey is likely to end up with an IMF program eventually, it probably won’t happen until they instill more pain.”

Antin was referring to the International Monetary Fund, an option President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected previously.

“The situation has to get bad enough that Erdogan is willing to make that pivot, [which would begin]with a rate hike,” Antin added.

Furthermore, Istanbul’s markets strengthened after Erdogan said during an industry event that “good news” will be announced on Friday, but the President gave little details.

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