Trump doubles steel & aluminum tariffs on Turkey

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President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks on Friday to sell their gold and U.S. dollars to support the country's currency which plunged after U.S. President Donald Trump escalated a feud with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey by doubling tariffs on metals imports.

US President Donald Trump's proposal to double tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey could push up costs even further for domestic oil and gas pipeline projects, as energy executives said they were already struggling from earlier tariff rises.

President Donald Trump says the United States has chose to increase tariff rates on Turkish steel and aluminum.

On March 1, Trump had announced global tariffs of 10 percent on all aluminum to the US and 25 percent on all steel imports.

The New York Times suggested that Trump could also be trying to offset the effects of Turkey's weakened currency on the existing tariffs.

The United States is the world's biggest steel importer.

The tariff for steel imported from Turkey will now be 50 percent.

President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks to exchange gold and dollars into lira as the currency tumbled after President Donald Trump doubled USA tariffs on metals imports from Turkey.

"If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks", he said during an address to supporters.

Geopolitical tensions between the US and other countries set the tone for markets this week, with a speech from President Recep Erdogan doing little to quell investor angst that Turkey's crisis will spread to other economies. Investors in Turkey are also anxious about President Erdogan's interference in the country's central bank.

A favourable exchange rate though can't have harmed the situation: on Friday, the USA dollar would buy nearly six Turkish lira; at the end of January, it would have got you less than four. Donald Trump's administration hit its justice and interior ministers with sanctions last week, a reaction to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has has been held for almost two years over alleged links to political groups.

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"It's very unfortunate that the Trump administration had to retaliate against Turkey for their continued refusal to release Pastor Brunson and other Americans being held in Turkish custody", Graham said.

Investors are concerned with Erdogan's firm grip on Turkish monetary policy.

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump who is also representing Brunson's family, told talk-show host and political commentator Sean Hannity's radio programme on Friday: "We're close to getting a resolution in that case".

According to the Capital Economics consultancy, the plunge in the lira risks putting further pressure on the banking sector in Turkey due to the scale of the credit boom and one third of bank lending being denominated in foreign currencies.

Shares in France's BNP Paribas, Italy's UniCredit and Spain's BBVA, the banks seen as most exposed to Turkey, fell 4 per cent or more.

Yet even USA firms that have disclosed relatively little exposure to Turkey fell as that country's crisis escalated Friday, with Citigroup Inc. down the most since May.

The lira hit a record low of 6.24 per dollar on Friday, before recovering to 5.92 - still down a whopping 7 per cent on the day.

Now, if none of that makes sense to you, don't worry: It shouldn't.

Erdogan had raised eyebrows Thursday when he appeared to invoke divine intervention, saying: "If they have dollars, we have our people, we have our right and we have Allah!" The $1.75 billion Gulf Coast Express is a natural gas line being constructed from West Texas to the US Gulf Coast.

The currency is down 40 percent just this year, shaking worldwide investors' confidence in the country.

After his June 24 election victory, Mr Erdogan put his son-in-law Berat Albayrak in charge of a newly expanded finance ministry while a new presidential system did away with the office of prime minister, whose last incumbent Binali Yildirim had on occasion urged caution in economic policy.

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