Turkish assets weaken as Fed minutes, new Cabinet eyed

Turkish assets weaken as Fed minutes, new Cabinet eyed

ISTANBUL - Reuters
Turkish assets weaken as Fed minutes, new Cabinet eyed

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at the headquarters of the IMF in Washington D.C.

Turkish stocks and the lira have weakened, in line with emerging market peers, as investors awaited policy signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

That overshadowed optimism that key economic ministers would remain in a new Turkish cabinet.

Senior ruling party officials told Reuters the key ministers responsible for the economy were likely to retain their roles when Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan assumes the presidency later this month.

Investors have been particularly concerned about the position of Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who have guided the Turkish economy towards unprecedented stability in recent years.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is seen as likely to become prime minister.

“The prime minister is expected to be officially announced tomorrow but uncertainty over the next economic team in the cabinet will remain until [the appointment] becomes official on Aug. 27,” said Erkin Işık, a strategist at TEB-BNP Paribas.

“However, recent news suggests that the economy team will remain intact, which could lead the lira to reverse some of its recent underperformance.”

Istanbul’s main share index was down 0.63 percent at 78,764 points in the morning trading after rising 2.5 percent on Aug. 19. It was underperforming the broader emerging markets index, which was down 0.1 percent.

The lira was also weaker, trading at 2.1713 to the dollar versus 2.1645 of the late hours of Aug. 19..
Riskier emerging markets assets had been underpinned by a shift in attention away from the Ukraine-Russia conflict, but investors used the relatively calm economic and political backdrop to take some money out of the market.

Later in the day, minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting will be released, closely watched by investors in Turkey, which relies on foreign capital flows to finance its gaping current account deficit.

Turkey’s benchmark two-year bond yield rose to 9.32 percent from 9.24 percent a day before.