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Turkey's central bank hikes interest rate by 500 basis points to 40%, well above expectations

Turkey’s Taksim Square, with the figure of Kemal Ataturk, the first president, and the Turkish flag in the background.

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Turkey’s central bank on Thursday hiked its key interest rate, the benchmark one-week repo rate, by another 500 basis points to 40%.

The hike was double economists’ expectations, who had forecast a 250-basis-point hike.

The move was seen as a continuation of the bank’s attempt to combat high inflation and a falling lira, the Turkish currency. Inflation in the country came in at a whopping 61% in October.

The lira was trading at 28.766 to the dollar following the news, slightly stronger against the greenback.

Timothy Ash, emerging markets strategist at BlueBay Asset Management, was one of the few experts who expected a 500-basis-point hike.

“Really impressive move by the CBRT [Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey] – probing their orthodoxy and getting well ahead of expectations,” he said in a note.

“These guys and girls are serious about fighting inflation,” he added. “We need to give them credit for that.”

The central bank decision follows a series of interest rate increases that have been painful for Turks, as the country aims to turn around several years of skyrocketing inflation and a dramatically weakened currency — in large part the result of stubbornly loose monetary policy by the Ankara government.

The lira is down 35% against the dollar year to date and has lost more than 80% of its value against the greenback over the last five years. 

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This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.


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