Turkey fires central bank chief as lira slides to record low

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ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey fired the governor of its central bank and replaced him with a former finance minister, according to a presidential decree published Saturday in the official gazette, after the Turkish lira reached record lows.

Naci Agbal was named as the new governor and no reason was provided in the decree for why his predecessor — Murat Uysal — was replaced after just 16 months in the job.

Uysal was given the role after disagreements between the previous governor, Murat Cetinkaya, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over cutting interest rates.

Erdogan has long railed against high interest rates and last Saturday, said Turkey was fighting against a “devil’s triangle of interest rates, exchange rates and inflation”.

Over the past few months, the lira has hit multiple historic lows against the US dollar, and was at 8.52 to the greenback late Friday.

The Turkish currency has lost nearly 30 percent of its value against the dollar this year.

Markets are worried over persistently high inflation, which remains in double-digits, and a sharp drop in foreign currency reserves.

There was hope last month the central bank would hike the main interest rate because of the weak lira, but markets were disappointed when it was kept unchanged.

The bank stunned investors in September when it raised the policy rate for the first time since 2018 from 8.25 to 10.25 percent.

The next decision by the bank’s monetary policy committee on interest rates will be on November 19.

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