Asia shares dip as Turkey's lira tanks

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party in Rize Turkey

Since the assassination of the USA pastor Andrew Branson in Turkey and the introduction of sanctions the relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have fallen to their lowest levels in the last few decades.

Last week, a Turkish delegation went to Washington and met American counterparts but there was no breakthrough.

Turkey's economy has been in dire straits since mid-2017, largely thanks to extremely high inflation rates, trade tariffs from the USA and government borrowing from foreign countries. Turkey responded by ordering the freezing of assets related to the U.S. "justice and interior" secretaries.

The lira's slide continued Monday, with the currency dropping as much as 10% against the USA dollar in early-morning trading before stabilizing.

"I here declare that we have seen your plot and we are challenging it", said Erdogan. There is no economic reason.

"The aim of the operation is to make Turkey surrender in all areas, from finance to politics", Erdogan said. Worries are building that "this may lead to contagion" across emerging markets, said Leow. "If you come at us with your dollars then we will find other ways to do business".

The Hong Kong dollar traded near the weak end of its trading band at 7.8499 per United States dollar although it is yet to trigger any currency intervention by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. "Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies".

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And the Brunson case is just one of many bones of contention between Turkey and the United States, ranging from Syria to Ankara's increasingly cosy relationship with Moscow.

The US began applying economic pressure after the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey, accused by Ankara of aiding the failed military coup.

Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law, didn't specify what the plan would involve.

Albayrak 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 Central Bank will closely monitor the market depth and price formations, and take all necessary measures to maintain financial stability, if deemed necessary", the TCMB said.

On the plus side, private health insurance fund NIB jumped 9.7 per cent to $6.25 after it lifted its earnings guidance thanks to a "benign" claims environment and growth in its membership, especially among global students and workers.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by raising U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

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A Financial Times report meanwhile suggests the European Central Bank does not yet view the situation in Turkey as critical.

Many analysts have said the problem wouldn't be so out of hand if Turkey's central bank had been left to do its job.

The Turkish lira has always been falling on worries about President Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and worsening relations with the United States.

The uncertainty pushed down world stock markets and briefly caused a sharp drop in the currencies of other emerging economies, like South Africa and India, amid concerns that the financial trouble could spread.

The lira fell by a fifth against the dollar last week alone, but "even before the current crisis dropping, the lira was the world's worst performing currency, by nearly 50% against the dollar in the past 12 months", The Guardian reports.

The currency crash was sparked by simmering tensions with the United States.

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