Turkish lira weakens slightly as US standoff drags on

Reuters , Friday 24 Aug 2018

A U.S. dollar banknote is seen through a magnifying lens on top of 100 Turkish lira banknotes in this picture illustration in Istanbul, Turkey August 14, 2018. (REUTERS)

The Turkish lira weakened slightly against the dollar in quiet holiday trade on Friday as a bitter standoff dragged on between Ankara and Washington over the fate of an American pastor being tried in Turkey.

The lira eased to 6.1079 against the U.S. currency from a close of 6.0950, having weakened 1 percent on Thursday after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman accused the United States of waging "economic war".

Trading volumes were thin and probably largely offshore as Turkish markets are closed all week for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. They will reopen on Monday.

The Turkish currency has this year lost 38 percent of its value against the dollar in a crisis fuelled both by investor concern over Erdogan's influence on monetary policy as well as the deepening row with the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday ruled out concessions to Ankara in return for the release of the pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being tried in Turkey on terrorism charges. Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said Ankara had made a "big mistake" by not freeing Brunson.

Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin responded to Bolton late on Wednesday, saying Washington must respect the legal process concerning the pastor and that Bolton's remarks showed the United States was targeting Turkey's economy.

Bolton had said he was sceptical about $15 billion of investment support from Qatar, saying it was "utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey's economy".

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