Turkey central bank hikes policy rate by 625 basis points

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Addressing a meeting of Turkish tradespeople in Ankara on Thursday, before the rate decision was announced, Erdoğan said the central bank is independent and takes its own decisions.

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

Turkey's economy has been in trouble since Mr Erdogan swept to a fourth term in office in a victory that handed him greater powers including more influence on the country's monetary policy.

It described the hike as a "strong monetary tightening to support price stability".

The lira reacted strongly to the decision, rising by five per cent in value to 6.0 lira to the USA dollar. It has lost around 40 per cent of its value this year. Facing a deep slide in the lira and a steep run higher in inflation, the central bank felt compelled to lift rates to restore investor confidence-a risky gambit that boosted the lira but could further damage the economy.

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The bank said it was hiking its main interest rate by 625 basis points to 24 per cent, double the market consensus for the raise. By way of comparison, the Federal Reserve's much-debated rate hikes earlier this year nudged the rate just fractions of a percentage point to around 2 percent in the U.S. "If you say 'inflation is cause, the rate is the result, ' you do not know this business, friend".

"Great decision - made all the more hard by the huge pressure on the central bank from Erdogan", said Bluebay Asset Management LLC strategist Tim Ash.

In one direction it could hear the siren call of investors craving higher interest rates to draw a line in the inflationary sand and stop the lira's collapse.

Phoenix Kalen at Societe Generale said the market was both pleased and confused by the bank's move.

"It nearly seems like it's a game of "good cop, bad cop" being played out between the Turkish authorities - with President Erdogan on the one hand still making statements regarding his dislike of interest rates and. a very sizeable reaction from the central bank in response to the recent inflationary and geopolitical developments".

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"Hemati told the media a meeting with the administrators of the Turkish and Russian Central Banks is expected in the near future and he hopes the agreed topics would rapidly come into effect", the Turkish agency said.

Piotr Matys at Rabobank said Turkey also needed to resolve its trade dispute with the USA and rebalance the economy away from big infrastructure projects and consumer spending.

Mr Erdogan has previously urged Turks to sell their dollars and euros.

In a bid to shore up the Turkish lira, Erdoğan's government issued a decree on Thursday banning the use of foreign currency in the sale and renting of property and the leasing of vehicles. It later shed some of those gains but was still up 3.0 per cent in value at 6.14 to the dollar.

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