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Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s treasury and finance minster, gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.
Turkey has drafted a economic action plan and will start implementing it on Monday morning to ease investor concerns, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Sunday, after the lira plunged to a new record low in early Asia Pacific trade.
In an interview with Hurriyet newspaper published online, Albayrak described the lira’s weakness as “an attack,” echoing President Tayyip Erdogan — who is his father-in-law — and said the action plan was ready.
“From Monday morning onwards our institutions will take the necessary steps and will share the announcements with the market,” Albayrak said, without giving details on what the steps would be.
Albayrak also said a plan has been prepared for banks and the real economy sector, including small to mid-sized businesses which are most affected by the foreign exchange fluctuations. “We will be taking the necessary steps with our banks and banking watchdog in a speedy manner,” he said.
He has also dismissed any suggestions that Turkey might intervene in dollar-denominated bank accounts, saying any seizure or conversion of those deposits into lira was out of the question.
The lira plunged to a fresh record low of 7.24 against the dollar during Asia Pacific trade, where markets were opening for Monday morning. It pared losses after Albayrak’s comments and stood at 6.8603 at 2136 GMT Sunday.
The currency has lost more than 45 percent of its value this year, largely over worries about Erdogan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates in the face of high inflation and worsening ties with the United States.
On Friday, the lira tumbled as much as 18 percent at one point, its biggest daily drop since 2001.
Earlier, Erdogan had stood by his opposition to high interest rates, saying they were an instrument of exploitation and that Turkey was not going to fall into this trap.
In the Hurriyet interview, Albayrak said budget policies were important to support and strengthen the central bank’s monetary policies. “We will be entering a strong period in terms of fiscal policies,” he said.
Turkey’s banking watchdog BBDK, in a statement, said it was limiting banks’ foreign exchange swap transactions.