Turkey raising rates is ‘not the solution,’ Mark Mobius warns

Business


Turkey’s raising of interest rates won’t boost confidence in its economy, asset manager Mark Mobius warned Friday.

Mobius, who is founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners, said he agreed in some ways with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan on Friday said his patience with rates has “limits” after the central bank on Thursday hiked its benchmark interest rate by 6.25 percentage points to 24 percent. The Turkish lira popped more than 2 percent against the dollar on the news yesterday.

“I agree with Erdogan in some ways because the central banking raising rates is not the solution,” Mobius said on CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe.”

Erdogan said Friday that the Turkish government would put new investments on hold as the country grapples with double-digit inflation and a plummeting currency.

Berat Albayrak, the country’s finance minister, has said he will deliver a medium-term economic plan next week.

“The solution is confidence, gaining confidence of investors — not only foreign investors but domestic investors,” Mobius said. “And that means you’ve got to start policies of balancing the budgets and doing things that give confidence to investors.”

The central bank’s policy move exceeded market expectations, and came amid worries over its independence. Not long before the institution announced its policy decision, Erdogan deplored high interest rates as a “tool of exploitation,” further bolstering those fears. On Friday, the Turkish leader yet again warned on rates, saying “we will see the result of (its) independence.”

Mobius said Turkey should learn from another emerging market country that has come under steep pressure amid its economic downturn — Argentina.

“Raising interest rates… is not going to do the trick, and we’ve seen that around the world by the way,” he said. “Argentina’s a good example where you can raise rates but if people are not confident in what the government is doing, then you’re not going to have an effect.”

Argentina shocked market players last month when it asked the International Monetary Fund for the early release of funds from a $50 billion financing deal. The Argentine peso plunged shortly after.

To assuage short-term concerns over the nosedive in the peso, the country’s central bank lifted interest rates 15 percentage points to 60 percent, promising not to lower them until December at the earliest.

Both Turkey and Argentina have been at the heart of a deep sell-off in emerging market assets over worries that their economic situations could be more than just domestically triggered.



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