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Turkey's central bank cut two of its three main interest rates on Tuesday in a bid to prevent speculative capital inflows from boosting the lira currency too sharply, while also taking steps to cool domestic loan growth reports Today's Zaman.
A healthy economic outlook and the gradual move of its credit ratings to investment grade has boosted the appeal of Turkish assets, forcing officials to take steps to battle a flood of cheap cash from central banks in the developed world that threatens to knock its economy off balance.
The bank shaved a quarter point off its borrowing and lending rates but kept its central one-week repo policy rate, which it cut by 25 basis points in December, unchanged at 5.50 percent.
It also raised reserve requirements to keep loan growth in check, increasing the amount of lira and forex that lenders have to hold with the bank as it strives to keep a lid on Turkey's current account gap while supporting growth and capping the lira.
"The central bank is now probably at the front of the pack in running the most complicated monetary policy the world has ever seen," said Timothy Ash, head of emerging markets research at Standard Bank.
"The combo of lower policy rates to try and deter hot money inflows and prevent the over appreciation of the lira, and macro prudential policy to counter the impact on domestic credit growth, continues."
The lira weakened in response while two-year Turkish bond yields sank 13 basis points to 5.64 percent, a tick away from a record low. Added to earlier moves, the rate changes brought the overnight borrowing rate and the lending rate to 4.5 percent and 8.5 percent respectively.
All 12 economists in a Reuters poll had expected it to keep its policy rate on hold at 5.50 percent, while five said they were expecting the bank to trim both ends of the interest rate corridor by 25 basis points.
Eleven had forecast a rise in lira required reserves.
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