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Turkey's central bank hikes key interest rate to 24 percent

Turkey's central bank hikes key interest rate to 24 percent

The lira firmed to 6.01 against the dollar following the decision, from more than 6.4176 beforehand.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) raised the rate from 17.75% to 24%, significantly higher than the analysts' consensus of 21%, and in apparent defiance of the president, who has regularly expressed resistance to raising rates.

"Accordingly, the Committee has chose to implement a strong monetary tightening to support price stability", the monetary policy committee statement said.

Following the news, the Turkish lira rose 5 percent in value against the United States dollar, reversing its 42-percent fall this year against the American currency.

Brett Diment at Aberdeen Standard Investments said raising rates would put "Turkey on the slow road to recovering some monetary policy credibility, and that is critical".

In another bid to prop up the lira, Erdogan earlier on Thursday ordered by decree that property agreements in foreign currencies would not be allowed.

"It was a big surprise to us, but probably to every Turkey-watcher", said Nora Neuteboom, an economist at ABN Amro, saying the move was a "positive signal" with the bank wanting to show its independence and commitment to fight inflation.

"Deterioration in the pricing behaviour continues to pose upside risks on the inflation outlook, despite weaker domestic demand conditions", the bank added.

While the lira's plight has made it "rational to expect at least 1000 basis points" added to interest rates, opposition to higher borrowing costs among Turkish officials made a smaller increase more realistic, Rabobank currency strategist Piotr Matys said before the decision.

The bank´s intervention was the latest aggressive rate hike to calm economic turbulence in an emerging market after the Argentinian central bank´s recent hike from 45 to 60 percent on August 30.

He has repeatedly blamed the central bank for high inflation, which hit nearly 18% last month, its highest level since 2003.

"Interest rates are the cause, inflation is the result".

Erdogan past year said the fund needed a "reorganisation" after the first chairman Mehmet Bostan was removed from his post in September 2017.

The central bank said it was returning to funding via one-week repos from Friday, having funded the market at an overnight lending rate of 19.25 per cent for the last month.

The lira had weakened earlier on Thursday before the central bank decision as Erdogan's fierce criticism of the central bank and high interest raised doubts in investors' minds about how much the bank might tighten policy.

The US hit two Turkish ministers with sanctions over the detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson and President Donald Trump doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey.

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