Erdogan warns of campaign against Turkey as lira plummets

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II departs Incirlik Air Base Turkey Jan. 20 2018

Turkey's lira hit a new record low against the U.S. dollar in early trade on Friday, as concerns over a widening rift with the United States persisted after a Turkish delegation returned from talks in Washington with no apparent solutions to the crisis.

The lira went into free-fall, sinking more than 12 percent at one point to reach and all-time low, having now lost more than one third of its value this year against the United States dollar and the euro.

The Turkish lira fell against the USA dollar due to mounting tensions between Turkey and the USA in the wake of Ankara's refusal to release American pastor Andrew Brunson who is suspected of being involved with a terrorist group.

Speaking to supporters in the Black Sea province of Rize late on Thursday, Erdogan brushed off concerns over the currency as campaigns against Turkey. He said: "If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah". We are working hard.

The Trump administration imposed financial sanctions against two ministers of President Recep Erdogan's cabinet, a move that sent the Turkish lira plummeting.

The standoff has triggered a selloff in the lira amid investor concerns about the direction of the country.

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"We are entering into a balance-of-payment crisis here", said Cristian Maggio, head of emerging market strategy at TD Securities in London.

Inflation stands at almost 16% but Turkey's central bank is reluctant to act - especially with the president having described himself as an "enemy of interest rates".

Last week, Mr Erdogan urged Turks to exchange gold and other currency for lira in a effort to boost its value. He has presented an economic action plan for the next 100 days.

Ankara is turning towards China to overcome what Erdogan said were "subjective evaluations" from ratings agencies. Erdogan said China, Mexico, Russia and India will be new markets for his country's exports.

The currency is under pressure on multiple fronts, with no progress reported in a dispute with the U.S. over the jailing of an American citizen over allegations, which he denies, that he supported an attempted coup in 2016.

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