Dec 04 2017

Turkish lira may be heading south

From ordinary Turks drinking tea on the sofa to the boardrooms of Istanbul, the ‘talk of the town’ is the level of the lira after it weakened to a record against the dollar and the euro.

It seems everyone has their own calculations about where the lira is heading. For example, the country’s economy ministers and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan say movements are speculative and the bubble is about to burst.

Some exporters are starting to talk about how the dollar might now be overvalued and the lira will probably settle around 3.5-3.6 per dollar.

On the other hand, Hürriyet columnist Erdal Sağlam, gives his own appraisal of where the currency is going after visiting a congress of hotel and tour operators in the southern resort city of Antalya.

The tourism sector has been looking optimistically and with confidence at 2018 after a recovery this year. But when you talk face-to-face with people, there is fear about developments in politics and foreign relations.

Sağlam said there appears to be a contradiction between tour operators’ apparent optimism and a poll held among congress participants. Forty-seven percent of respondents expect the lira to trade at between 5 and 5.2 per euro by the middle of next year. Thirty-three percent expect the lira to be worth 4.8-5 per euro, he said. The most important problem for Turkey is foreign policy, 61 percent of respondents said.

The lira was trading at 4.65 to the euro on Monday.