Duvar English – Reuters

Turkey’s lira charged higher against the dollar on Sept. 24 as a result of the central bank’s surprise move to raise its policy rate, proving economists wrong in expecting a continuation of back-door tightening measures.

After hitting a series of record lows, the lira climbed 1% as the central bank said a fast recovery from the initial coronavirus pandemic shock sent inflation higher than expected, prompting it to hike interest rates by 200 basis points after nearly a year of aggressive rate cuts.

“Massive surprise, and positive. Suggests the [central bank] listened to the market and decided they had to move to avoid a disorderly devaluation and potential balance of payments crisis,” said Tim Ash at BlueBay Asset Management.

“They are not out of the woods yet, but they have given themselves a fighting chance.”

Despite a recent Moody’s credit rating downgrade, the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (PPK) said that the Turkish economy was thriving in the third quarter of the year, as Ankara’s interventions sustained production.

However, the PPK will maintain a “cautious approach,” the official statement said, as it’s vital for inflation rates to lower in coming months.

The lira has lost over 20% versus the dollar this year, making it one of the worst performing currencies due to worries about Turkey’s depleted forex reserves and sharply negative real interest rates.

The lira was also supported by easing tensions over sanctions from the European Union after Ankara agreed to talks with Greece over maritime claims, although a date for discussions had not been decided yet.