Turkish lira keeps sliding, hits historic lows amid pandemic

International

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus, walk in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Turkey’s interior ministry announced new measures Wednesday to curb the spread of COVID-19 as daily confirmed cases peaked above 1,000. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

LONDON (AP) — Turkey’s currency tumbled further Friday, hitting record lows two days in a row.

The Turkish lira dropped to a historic low of 7.3677 against the dollar before recovering slightly. The lira is down about 19% versus the U.S. currency since the beginning of the year.

The drop is fueled by high inflation, a wide current account deficit and the Turkish government’s push for cheap credit to drive an economy that was already fragile before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Analysts have expressed concerns over the level of Turkey’s reserves and over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aversion to high interest rates.

Turkey had been hoping for an influx of foreign currency through exports and tourism revenues, but the coronavirus pandemic has sharply undermined the tourism industry and disrupted global commerce.

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