Turkish lira weakens after Fitch downgrades outlook to 'negative'

The Turkish lira collapsed further after Fitch Ratings has downgraded Turkey’s sovereign credit rating outlook, describing the central bank's interest-rate easing cycle premature.


Turkey's lira edged lower against the dollar on Dec. 3 after ratings agency Fitch revised the country's outlook to "negative" from "stable" over risks from monetary policy direction.

At 0518 GMT, the lira stood at 13.75 to the U.S. currency, about 0.6% weaker from Thursday's close. The unit lost some 46% of its value against the greenback this year.

The currency slumped to an all-time low 14.0 this week after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended the low-rate economic policy and as the dollar benefited from hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve comments.

The ratings agency described the central bank's easing cycle, which started in September even when inflation was accelerating, premature and said it caused deterioration in domestic confidence reflected in a sharp depreciation of the currency.

"Maintaining a deeply negative real policy rate could further undermine domestic confidence, increasing risks for financial stability, for example if depositor confidence is shaken, and potentially jeopardise the until now resilient access of banks and corporates to external financing," Fitch said in his rating report.

Since September, the central bank cut the policy rate by 400 basis points to 15%, but the governor signaled that aggressive policy easing would likely pause in January after one more rate cut this month.