Turkish lira slides to record low amid Armenian tensions

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The lira has performed poorly this year. (Reuters)-

The lira, already among the worst performing European currencies this year

BENGALURU: The Turkish lira hit a record low on Monday amid growing concerns around clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces, while emerging market stocks tracked gains in Asia as data showed a jump in Chinese industrial profits.

The lira tumbled 1.5 percent to a low of 7.79 against the dollar, while the Russian rouble eased for the fourth straight session. Azerbaijan and Armenia sovereign dollar-denominated bonds fell as much as 3 to 4 cents.

“Fears are that Turkey gets dragged into another regional conflict,” said Timothy Ash, EM sovereign strategist at BlueBay Asset Management, referring to the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave in Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenians.

The lira, already among the worst performing European currencies this year, received a brief respite last week following a surprise move by the central bank to raise its key lending rate, but analysts said the average interest rate might not rise by much.

“Such temporary high interest rates, which attempt to purge out short lira positions, make little difference to the medium-term trend because speculative short positions against the lira are not really the reason behind its depreciation,” said Tatha Ghose, FX analyst at Commerzbank.
An index of emerging market currencies was flat in early trade, with the South African rand easing slightly against the dollar.
The Hungarian forint was nearly unchanged versus the euro. Ratings agency Moody’s on Friday raised Hungary’s sovereign rating outlook to “positive” from “stable,” partly citing improvements in the domestic and external debt position.

The Swedish krona was a touch higher as data showed retail sales jumped 3 percent in August from a year earlier.

A basket of developing world stocks was up 0.9 percent and on track for its best day in two weeks, propped by gains in Russia.

Tech-focused South Korean and Taiwanese stocks also jumped as investors priced in a boost from tighter US curbs on China’s biggest chipmaker.

The South African stock index jumped 1.9 percent, while the Turkish bourse shed 0.5 percent.

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