Turkish lira firms ahead of Thursday’s economic plan announcement

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Turkish lira strengthened 1 percent on Wednesday as investors weighed up expectations for Thursday’s announcement by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak of the government‘s medium-term economic programme.

Albayrak has promised “realistic macro targets” and “right action plans” in the three-year programme to 2021. He has also promised savings measures and said the fight against inflation and the current account deficit are priorities.

The government needs to announce concrete details on what steps it will take to address Turkey’s economic troubles, said Guillaume Tresca, senior emerging markets strategist at Credit Agricole.

Finance Minister Albayrak describes the right issues and the right programmes,” he said, commenting on previous statements by the minister. “But it was just words, so now we need to see the implementation of something new, something real.”

The medium-term programme generally focuses on government macroeconomic targets, notably for growth, inflation, unemployment, the budget and current account

The lira <TRYTOM=D3> stood at 6.3100 at 0955 GMT on Thursday, firming from the previous day’s close of 6.3800.

The currency has lost some 40 percent this year on concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and the independence of the central bank. A diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington over the trial of a U.S. evangelical pastor in Turkey has added to selling pressure on the lira.

The central bank hiked interest rates by 6.25 percentage points last week in a bid to tame double-digit inflation and put a floor under the lira. The currency initially strengthened, only to weaken as far as 6.4620 against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, returning to pre-hike levels.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond <TR10YT=RR> fell to 18.57 percent on Wednesday from 19.02 percent on Tuesday.

The main BIST 100 share index <.XU100> rose 0.7 percent to 95,538.04 points.

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