Markets

Wall Street surges on news of trade progress

Wall Street surges on news of trade progress

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday (Aug 16) the United States was ready to put further economic sanctions on Turkey if detained American pastor Andrew Brunson was not released.

Ankara accuses Mr Brunson - who operates a tiny evangelical church in Izmir - of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party and the Gulenist movement, which Turkey blames for a failed coup two years ago.

The investment package was announced after Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met President Tayyip Erdogan in the capital, as Turkey grapples with a collapsing lira and a worsening commercial and political standoff with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States.

The lira, which has lost some 40 percent of its value this year, weakened beyond 6.21 against the USA dollar after the news, from 6.04 beforehand.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday signaled new sanctions against Turkey over Brunson's detention and Turkey said it would reciprocate.

Many countries have been the target of similar United States trade measures, Albayrak said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

Brunson was charged with terror offenses by a Turkish court and has been held since October 2016.

The beleaguered Turkish currency had been strengthening in recent days after the government tried to clamp down on short-selling by rationing the amount of currency available to foreign institutions.

The White House has said there could be more economic measures against Turkey if Brunson is not released.

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The court ruling comes amid a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the U.S. that has seen tariffs from both sides pile up and an exchange of threats of further sanctions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the USA of trying to "bring Turkey to its knees". He criticized Turkey for "holding our wonderful Christian Pastor".

He said Turkey would emerge "stronger" from the currency crisis and ruled out an International Monetary Fund bailout.

The lira's free-fall was likewise stemmed by the implementation by Turkey's central bank of policies that make it more hard to borrow money.

Turkey on Wednesday doubled tariffs on several USA goods, including alcohol and tobacco products and cars, after Trump increased US tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

"Turkey has alternatives", he said.

He has denied the charges, and his case has been taken up by U.S. President Donald Trump, who counts evangelical Christians among his core supporters.

The currency rebounded following the prisoners' release, and following an announcement by Qatar, a strong Turkish ally, that it will invest $15 billion in Turkey's economy.


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