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Turkish lira hits record low ahead of rate decision: report

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The Turkish lira weakened more than 2 percent to a fresh record low against the dollar on Tuesday over market concerns that the central bank might raise interest rates this week by less than previously expected, Reuters reported.

The lira hit a record low of 26.9 against the US currency, sliding from Monday’s close of 26.3505. It has weakened 30 percent so far this year.

According to a Reuters poll, Turkey’s central bank is expected to raise its policy rate by 500 basis points to 20 percent this week, making good on its pledge of further tightening to curb inflation, which is set to rise again.

However, pro-government Hürriyet newspaper columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote on Tuesday that his impression from “economic circles” was that the rate will be raised to around 16.50-17.0 percent.

The central bank will announce its rate decision at 1100 GMT on Thursday.

In June, the central bank raised its policy rate by 650 basis points to 15 percent, promising to continue tightening until there was a significant improvement in the inflation outlook.

The rate hike and the hawkish tone were the strongest signals of a reversal after years of loose policy under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who prioritized growth and investments.

But June’s hike was below expectations, with economists saying Erdoğan’s influence over the central bank limits how far they can go in tightening policy. Real rates are deeply negative.

Turkey’s annual inflation surged to a 24-year high of 85.51 percent last October, mainly due to lira depreciation because of Erdoğan’s policy of low rates. It eased to 38.21 percent by June but is expected to rise again.

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