Turkey – On the way to a persistent crisis

The sell-off on the Turkish lira continues. The exchange rate against the dollar was above seven (7.2 in Asia) last night, it it now at 6.85 (just before 0400 pm, Paris time today) while it was at just 5.15 a week ago.
The graph is impressive and shows that the situation has dramatically changed in recent days.
On Turkey there are many things to look at to understand the recent weakness.
1 – In many other emerging countries, the situation has changed in April when the US dollar went up as expectations on the Fed’s monetary policy changed. Emerging currencies became weaker.
2 – The direct consequence was capital outflows from emerging to the US and lower liquidity on fixed income markets. In many emerging countries interest rates, short and long, went up rapidly. I have written on this topic here and here.
3 – The story stopped there in many countries notably in Asia. The situation is less comfortable but manageable. For countries with deficit in the current account and large indebtedness in dollar the situation went worse. This was notably the case for Turkey but also for other countries like Argentina or Indonesia. I have written on Turkey here and here

In other words, the Turkish lira weakness seen after mid-April was just the result of a stronger dollar leading to an emerging crisis. The specific Turkish momentum came from large disequilibria (current account and dollar indebtedness) that reflect the economic policy of recent years.
The recent exchange rate profile came after tensions with the US but the currency was already weak for reasons explained above. Tensions have created a run, leading to a rapid depreciation. Continue reading