The Latest: Tourists, homebuyers look for bargains in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey — The Latest on Turkey’s currency crisis (all times local):
Turkish media reports say Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has told international investors that Turkey would come out of the current “currency fluctuation” stronger than before.
Albayrak addressed thousands of investors in a teleconference on Thursday to update about the state of the economy.
Private NTV quoted Albayrak as reassuring investors’ that Turkey’s banks are “healthy and strong” and that fighting inflation, implementing structural reforms and strict monetary policy remained a priority.
The minister ruled out imposing limits on money flows, NTV said.
International investors have been worried by Turkey’s high levels of foreign debt and Erdogan’s refusal to allow the central bank to raise interest rates to support the currency, as experts say it should.
The drop in the Turkish lira is attracting more interest from tourists, including last minute travelers, as well as prospective real estate buyers.
U.K.-based online travel agent Travel Republic says bookings to Turkey increased by 21 percent in the last three days.
The company said the number of nights that tourists are staying in Turkey has also increased, by 47 percent, likely due to costs in resort being low as a result of the currency devaluation.
Price comparison site TravelSupermarket.com says it has seen a 19 percent increase in searches for Turkey in the Aug. 9-15 period compared with the previous week.
Some are looking for a longer-term bargain — property.
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Spotblue, a British website focused on Turkish real estate, says the number of people visiting its site has more than doubled since last week. It is too early to say how much of that interest will turn into a deal.
Turkish officials say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron, during which Macron said that Turkey’s economic stability is important for France.
Officials at Erdogan’s office say the two presidents on Thursday stressed the importance of expanding economic and trade ties as well as mutual investments. They added that the Turkish and French finance ministers would meet soon.
The high-level conversation comes as Turkey shows signs of a rapprochement with European countries amid an on-going trade and diplomatic spat with the United States that help trigger a Turkish currency crisis. Erdogan held a similar conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.
The officials provided the information only on condition of anonymity, in line with rules.
The Turkish lira is rebounding from record losses a day after Qatar pledged US$15 billion in investments to help Turkey’s economy.
The currency strengthened some 3 percent against the dollar on Thursday, trading at around 5.75 per dollar, hours before Turkey’s treasury and finance minister were scheduled to reassure international investors about the economy.
The lira had nosedived in recent weeks, hitting a record low of 7.24 last week, amid a diplomatic and trade dispute with the United States.
Washington imposed sanctions and tariffs over the continued detention of an American pastor, while Turkey retaliated with some US$500 million of tariffs on some U.S. imports and said it would boycott U.S. electronic goods.
The currency recovered after authorities took steps to help bank liquidity and limit swap transactions.