x

Politics

Turkish Central Bank Bows to Erdogan’s Pressure to Cut Rates

September 23, 2021

ISTANBUL — Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly cut the main interest rate by one percentage point on Thursday, bowing to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's demand for lower borrowing rates to boost growth.

The bank's monetary committee cut the policy rate from 19% to 18% despite an annual inflation rate of 19.25%. Economists generally view higher interest rates as a curb on inflation but Erdogan has repeatedly said the reverse – that a high rate of interest causes price rises.

The decision sent the Turkish lira to a near-record low of 8.808 against the U.S. dollar.

Timothy Ash, an emerging markets economist for BlueBay Asset Management in London, described the move as "truly idiotic" in a note to investors.

"Huge risk (is) being taken by Erdogan, I think because his popularity is falling and he needs to take a risk to get the economy firing on all cylinders," he added.

The bank's governor, Sahap Kavcioglu, is the fourth appointee to the role since 2019 amid concerns over the bank's independence. He had kept the interest rate at 19% since taking office in March. Erdogan called for a cut in rates last month.

The Turkish economy never fully recovered from a 2018 currency crisis when it was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, causing growing inflation and unemployment.

The country is set for an election in 2023, although an earlier poll could be called by the government, which has faced recent criticism over a range of problems, including its handling of the pandemic, the economy and even summer wildfires and floods.

RELATED

BRUSSELS - After an initial timid response of support for Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vow not to talk to him again, the European Commission has taken a stronger stance.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission, TNH’s New Travel Documentary Series with Clelia Charissis

Every weekend, TNH and Clelia Charissis are on a mission, traveling around Greece and the world to highlight places through the people we meet along the way.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.