The Turkish Lira resumed its drop early Monday touching a new record low of 7.21 per dollar before recovering slightly during Asia trade. Comments from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak over the weekend that a plan would be revealed today to calm the markets failed to restore confidence.
Once again, the market is taking it personally. How many times have come here in the past year and a half playing Lord Rothschild to warn you we are dealing with a similar market from the late 30’s? What happened was I’ve been talking about it a lot longer but Rothschild went public so it gave the rest of us who are awake a lot of credibility. Still, the market went higher.
Sparkling. Spectacular. Stellar. Sterling. Stupendous. Super… and those are just the adjectives starting with “sp” through “su” that describe the Q2 earnings season for the S&P 500. Through Friday, 91% of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported earnings, and according to the earnings mavens at FactSet, this earnings season has broken all sorts of records.
The global risk appetite is again shrinking but it’s easy to get caught in the forest and miss the trees; despite the headlines, the U.S stock market remains in a strong bull market. Listen, we are certainly not ignoring the Turkey-related risks as the Lira plunged once again and hit a record low against the U.S Dollar before paring losses.
Crude oil prices are trying to balance the risks to oil supply versus the risks to demand. The risk to the demand side of the equation is coming out of Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vowing not to be brought to its knees even as it is him that has driven the Turkish economy into freefall. The Turkish central bank says it will provide all the liquidity that the Turkish banks need. That brought the crashing Lira and stock market back a bit, but it is unclear whether that will provide lasting support.
Another week has flown by and what a disastrous one it has been for the likes of the Turkish lira and to a lesser degree the British pound, but once again it has been a good for the US dollar. Next week should be equally exciting as there are a few important data releases to look forward to, while the ongoing situation in Turkey could bring about further volatility – not just for the lira but the stock markets too.
The U.S. dollar appreciated versus most major pairs on Friday. The Japanese yen outperformed the greenback as a safe haven, but all other major currencies suffered heavy losses during the week. Tense trade developments between China and the United States and Friday’s drop in the Turkish lira dragged emerging and developed markets lower as US sanctions were doubled.
The economic situation in Turkey has been a powder keg for months, and it’s finally found a spark. While investors have never truly trusted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he’s shredded his last vestiges of credibility in recent months by appointing his son-in-law as the country’s finance minister and espousing his belief that lower interest rates were needed to fight inflation, the exact opposite of economic orthodoxy (and your humble author would argue, all the empirical evidence of centuries of central banking); indeed, Erdogan recently stated, “interest rates are the mother and father of all evil."