Turkish lira fights back

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A money changer counts Turkish lira banknotes at a currency exchange office in Istanbul, Turkey August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ISTANBUL/ANKARA, (Reuters) – Turkey’s lira pulled back from a record low of 7.24 to the dollar yesterday after the central bank pledged to provide liquidity and cut reserve requirements for Turkish banks, but its meltdown continued to rattle global markets.

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The currency has lost more than 40 percent against the dollar this year, largely over worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates, and worsening ties with the United States.

On Friday that relentless slide turned into a crash: the lira dropped as much as 18 percent, hitting US and European stocks as investors took fright over banks’ exposure to Turkey.

The fresh lira collapse on Sunday night hit Asian shares, weakened South Africa’s rand and drove demand in global markets for safe currencies including the dollar, Swiss franc and yen. Shares in Europe’s major banks also lost ground.

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