Turkey Finally Gets It With Larger Than Expected Rate Hike

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Turkey finally decided to put on its “A” game. After having been way too slow to raise interest rates to stem inflation and a major currency depreciation, Turkey finally raised its benchmark interest rates in an effort to save its falling currency. The rate hike was a sharp 6.25%, up to 24%.

24/7 Wall St. recently featured Turkey as one of eight nations suffering from high inflation and sky-high interest rates and we recently featured the Turkish economy by the numbers. The Turkish lira popped by 5%, as the move indicates that Turkey is finally admitting that it was behind the curve, and this hike is by even more than some economists were calling for back in August. The lira had been down by over 40%.

Turkey’s lira had been under pressure all summer, and the sell-off was exacerbated by investors’ fear of just how independent the central bank’s independence was considering that it is run by President Erdogan’s son-in-law. And then there were also the political and trade issues between Erdogan and Trump, and Turkey had even started accusing the Western credit ratings agencies of attacking the nation.

Large moves were seen in the exchange traded funds and the American depositary shares tracking Turkey.

iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: TUR) was last seen trading up 4.3% at $21.86 after the open of U.S. equity markets, and that is after a 1.3% gain on Wednesday. Its 52-week range is $18.88 to $46.66, so even with this pop the ETF is down over 50% from its highs in the last year.

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) was last seen trading up 7.3% at $4.56 on Thursday, after a 0.25% drop on Wednesday. Turkcell has a 52-week range of $3.93 to $11.29.

The official statement from the Turkish Bank said:

Recently released data indicate a more significant rebalancing trend in the economic activity. External demand maintains its strength, while slowdown in domestic demand accelerates.

Recent developments regarding the inflation outlook point to significant risks to price stability. Price increases have shown a generalized pattern across subsectors, reflecting the movements in exchange rates. Deterioration in the pricing behavior continues to pose upside risks on the inflation outlook, despite weaker domestic demand conditions. Accordingly, the Committee has decided to implement a strong monetary tightening to support price stability.

The Central Bank will continue to use all available instruments in pursuit of the price stability objective. Tight stance in monetary policy will be maintained decisively until inflation outlook displays a significant improvement. Inflation expectations, pricing behavior, lagged impact of recent monetary policy decisions, contribution of fiscal policy to rebalancing process, and other factors affecting inflation will be closely monitored and, if needed, further monetary tightening will be delivered.

CNBC and Bloomberg both confirmed that the magnitude of this rate hike exceeded market expectations. CNBC said that the market was looking for a hike of 300 to 400 basis points, and Bloomberg had a loose consensus estimate of 325 basis points, rather than the 625 basis point hike that was actually made.