Japan’s largest bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) said on April 2 that the Turkish lira could drop as far as 8-to-the-dollar in a year.
The embattled currency could depreciate to the 8 threshold in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) causing a “sudden stop” on emerging markets and record capital outflows, analysts at the bank said.
April 2 also saw Bank of America become the latest financial institution to revise its GDP forecasts for Turkey—it now sees -2.3% for 2020 and 3.6% for 2021 against its previous estimates of 2.5% and 2.8%, respectively.
Turkey was attempting to quickly pull away from a recession-ailed 2019 that followed its 2018 currency crisis. However, the pandemic—despite its emergence triggering a sequence of events that caused, to big energy importer Turkey’s benefit, a crash in oil prices—could sharply hit Turkish GDP this year and plunge the country back into recession, the MUFG analysts added. The coronavirus will no doubt slam into Turkey’s tourism sector, which accounts for 12-13% of Turkey’s economic output, MUFG noted.
The lira has lost around 11% of its value to date this year. Across 2018 and 2019 it shed 36%. On April 2, it weakened as far as 6.71 per dollar in early trading before recovering to 6.62 by the end of the day.
MUFG also highlighted March’s Turkish central bank rate cut of 100bp, which brought the benchmark lending rate to 9.75%, and the national lender’s front-loaded government bond-buying programme announced this week.
“In these circumstances, we expect the lira to weaken further,” MUFG concluded.
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