Mnuchin Says Turkey Faces More Sanctions If Pastor Not Released

Anna Jefferson
August 17, 2018

Turkey slapped another round of steep tariffs on US goods as the two countries escalate their trade battle and push the relationship to a breaking point.

National Security Adviser John Bolton met at the White House on Monday with Turkish ambassador Serdar Kilic, but the discussion reportedly did not result in any substantive progress.

"The corporate backdrop remains very strong in the USA and I don't see that changing", said Richard Saldanha, equity fund manager at Aviva Investors.

The lira, which earlier this week traded at well over seven to the dollar, had rebounded slightly over the last three days but on Friday it lost almost five percent of its value and was quoted at 6.1 against the dollar.

The currency was supported by Turkey's plan to cut spending, support for the banks and Qatar's pledge to invest $15bn in the country.

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Last week, Trump tweeted that his administration was doubling aluminum and steel tariffs for Turkey, and in response Ankara sharply hiked tariffs on some USA products.

Turkish officials said Erdogan spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, during which the French president said Turkey's economic stability is important for France.

The currency strengthened some 2 percent against the dollar, trading at around 5.85 per dollar, hours before Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak was scheduled to update global investors about the economy. "If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung", the Turkish president said.

Mr Albayrak will also meet his German counterpart Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Sept 21. ARD TV reported the man was accused of "terrorist propaganda" after criticizing the government on social media. The Treasury Department earlier this month levied sanctions on two senior Turkish officials in retaliation for Brunson's continued detention.

Halkbank has said all of its transactions were lawful and Mr Albayrak played down the risk.

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A day earlier, he said the United States was seeking to stab Turkey "in the back" by sending the lira into a tailspin.

The dispute is one of several between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, including diverging interests in Syria and USA objections to Ankara's ambition to buy Russian defense systems, that have contributed to instability in Turkish financial markets.

However, Turks appeared not to be heeding his appeal.

The row with Washington has helped drive the lira to record lows, with the currency losing more than 40 per cent of its value against the dollar this year, prompting central bank liquidity moves to support it. The index that tracks the greenback against six major currencies fell as much 0.4 percent before ending 0.06 percent lower on the day at 96.637.

In his televised speech yesterday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey will "boycott USA electronic goods".

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