Turkish lira hits another historic low amid pandemic: report

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A teller holds Turkish lira banknotes at a currency exchange office in Istanbul on August 13, 2018. Turkey's troubled lira tumbled on August 13 to fresh record lows against the euro and dollar, piling pressure on stock markets on fears the country's crisis could spill over into the world economy. / AFP PHOTO / Yasin AKGUL

Turkey’s currency tumbled further Friday, hitting another record low, according to The Associated Press.

The Turkish lira dropped to 7.3677 against the dollar before making a recovery. The lira is down about 19 percent versus the US currency since the beginning of the year. It was trading at around 7.17 on Friday afternoon.

The drop is fueled by high inflation, a wide current account deficit and the Turkish government’s push for cheap credit to drive an economy that was already fragile before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Analysts have expressed concerns over the level of Turkey’s reserves and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aversion to high interest rates.

Turkey had been hoping for an influx of foreign currency through exports and tourism revenues, but the pandemic has sharply undermined the tourism industry and disrupted global commerce.

Speaking after Friday prayers at the recently reconverted Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, Erdoğan said that “there are serious zigzags in the global economy after the pandemic.”

He added: “I believe the Turkish lira will fall into place. … These are temporary fluctuations.”

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