Trump Vows To Double Metal Tariffs On Turkey

Brussels

The U.S. dollar index surged against most other major currencies in late trading on Friday, as U.S. President Donald Trump authorized doubling of the tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Turkey to 50 percent and 20 percent respectively.

"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

U.S. President Donald Trump intensified his spat with Turkey on Friday by imposing higher tariffs on metal imports, putting unprecedented economic pressure on a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and deepening turmoil in Turkish financial markets.

The moves stem from Trump's frustration over a detained American pastor held by Turkey on what U.S. officials say are bogus charges, two sources with knowledge of the President's mind-set tell CNN.

Turkey has vowed to retaliate, but its currency has steadily weakened, removing some of the bite of the tariffs by making Turkish goods cheaper for USA consumers.

The Turkish currency fell more than 18 percent on Friday, increasing its costs to import raw materials, but making exports relatively cheaper.

Turkey also wants the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the coup attempt against Erdogan in which 250 people were killed.

Although Erdogan struck a defiant tone, his foreign ministry called for diplomacy and dialogue to solve problems with Washington and Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said "we implore President Trump to return to the negotiating table".

It added that Trump's comments, made on Twitter, were "not possible to reconcile with state seriousness".

Separately, Pekcan's ministry said the tariffs were a violation of World Trade Organization rules and that it would defend Turkish producers' rights at the trade body and other worldwide platforms. Erdogan claims higher rates lead to higher inflation - the opposite of what standard economic theory says. "Hopefully we will overcome this disaster and we will also successfully overcome this economic war", Erdogan said.

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United States imports of Turkish steel account for 4 percent of total steel imports, according to statistics from 2017.

The central bank raised interest rates to support the lira in an emergency move in May, but it did not tighten at its last meeting.

"One of our principles will be ensuring the full independence of monetary policy", Abayrak said as he outlined his ministry's "new economic model". "This is a domestic and national struggle".

If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks.

"This will be my people's answer to those who declare economic war against us", he added.

New Finance Minister Berat Albayrak - Erdogan's son-in-law - has promised stronger budget discipline and a priority on structural reforms.

The euro sagged to a 13-month low against the dollar on concerns that European banks operating in Turkey could suffer losses. As the lira falls in value, the debt becomes harder to pay.

The trade actions "threaten important energy infrastructure projects", said Catherine Landry, a vice president at trade group Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.

"The last time I can remember a currency exploding into a similar acceleration of weakness to what we have seen in the past 24 hours is the Russian ruble crisis that transpired late in 2014", Jameel Ahmad, the head of currency strategy at FXTM, said.

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