Erdogan appoints himself chairman of Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund

13 Septembre, 2018, 17:52 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

Turkey's central bank today surprised markets with a bigger than expected rate hike to battle soaring inflation and boost the lira, prompting the embattled currency to surge in value.

"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.

Central bank policymakers meet later on Thursday and are expected to raise interest rates - which are now less than inflation - to support the lira. It has been staffed by technocrats close to Mr Erdogan but there have been internal rifts, with some arguing that its wealth should be used to try to steady the lira, which has tumbled against major currencies this year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed himself chairman of Turkey's multi-billion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, according to a decision published Wednesday in the Official Gazette.

The lira reacted strongly to the decision, rising by five per cent in value to 6.0 lira to the United States dollar.

The Monetary Policy Committee led by Governor Murat Cetinkaya on Thursday increased the one-week repo rate by 625 basis points to 24 per cent, more than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey that called for a hike of 325 basis points.

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It said: "Accordingly, the committee has chose to implement a strong monetary tightening to support price stability".

He earlier charged the bank with failing to control inflation and again aired his unorthodox view that low rates bring inflation down.

The interest rate decision will be announced at 1100 GMT.

The fall in the value of the lira in recent months has pushed up the price of everyday items in Turkey and raised fears the country is sliding into an economic crisis. "If you say "inflation is the cause, the rate is the result", you do not know this business, friend", he added.

His comments come before the Turkish central bank (CBRT) monetary policy decision due on the cards at 1100 GMT.

Turkey's shopping mall industry has more than $15 billion of debt which firms could struggle to repay if they are unable to generate foreign currency revenues, Belgu said, adding that such decisions may spook foreign investors who account for about $17 billion of a total $58 billion invested in shopping malls.

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