Turkish lira slips 2 pct against US dollar as coronavirus cases surge: report

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The Turkish lira fell nearly 2 percent against the dollar on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases continued to surge in Turkey and world markets tumbled on worries over the length of a global economic shutdown, Reuters reported.

Airline shares also came under pressure, hit by a drastic reduction in flights, with Pegasus Airlines halting domestic flights until April 30.

The lira stood at 6.5750 against the dollar at 1225 GMT, weakening from a close of 6.4505 on Friday. Though one of the more durable among its peers, the lira has fallen nearly 10 percent this year amid the global selloff triggered by the pandemic.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that the number of deaths from the coronavirus in Turkey jumped by 23 to 131 on Sunday, as confirmed cases increased by 1,815 to 9,217.

In the latest measures to curb the spread of the virus, Turkey halted inter-city trains and limited domestic flights on Saturday.

Pegasus Airlines shares fell 8.57 percent and Turkish Airlines was down 2.26 percent. The main BIST 100 share index was flat, having dropped 3.72 percent on Friday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Friday for a “voluntary quarantine” in which Turks stay at home except for shopping or basic needs to help contain the outbreak.

Three state banks, Ziraat, Vakıf and Halkbank, started a loan system for families with a monthly income of less than 5,000 lira ($760). The loans would be up to 10,000 lira, with a 36-month maturity and six-month grace period.

Turkey has also grounded all international flights, and passengers are required to obtain the approval of their local governor’s office to travel between provinces.

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