Photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas
Photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas

Turkey’s central bank is under pressure to act quickly to halt the rapid descent of the lira, with speculation growing that officials are ready to aggressively tighten monetary policy.

Capital Economics economist William Jackson said as much in a note Tuesday, according to a Bloomberg brief, writing that the most vulnerable EM currency’s selloff may be due in part to US Federal Reserve policy.

As Asia Unhedged has been reporting, political crises, including the trial of Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, are also weighing on the currency.

A move to aggressively raise interest rates to stabilize the currency is reminiscent of Russia’s decision to do so in 2014.  Interestingly, as Bloomberg notes in a separate report Thursday, the move followed the example set by Turkey at the beginning of that year.

Any rate hikes would rain on Erdogan’s cheap credit parade, and exacerbate the feud between the president and Turkey’s central bankers, which was reignited last week. Erdogan ranted about an “interest rate lobby” which kept rates artificially high, and suggested he should have more of a say in monetary policy.

“They say central banks are independent so we shouldn’t interfere. This is the end result because we haven’t interfered,” he was quoted as saying. “Results speak for themselves.”