Turkey's central bank raises interest rate to 24%

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The bank kept unchanged its guidance on interest rates, a more closely watched item as its sets the course for monetary policy for a year, an unusually long horizon for a central bank.

"They act according to the Central Bank's decisions and there are now rates as high as 50 percent in practice", Erdoğan said, underlining that such sharp profits could only be gained through narcotics.

All 11 economists in a Reuters poll had forecast the bank would tighten, with the predictions ranging between 225-725 basis points as it balances concerns over the lira's weakness with worries about a sharp economic slowdown.

Ignoring calls for restraint from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the bank raised its main short-term rate from 17.5% following weeks of pressure from global investors.

Right before the bank acted, Erdogan decried high interest rates as a "tool of exploitation".

"Hiking today does get Turkey on the slow road to recovering some monetary policy credibility, and that is critical".

The central bank said there was still an upside risk to Turkey's inflation outlook from what it called a deterioration in pricing behaviour, despite weaker domestic demand conditions.

It described the hike as a "strong monetary tightening to support price stability".

The lira firmed to 6.01 against the dollar following the decision, from more than 6.4176 beforehand.

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The currency has plunged in recent months and even after Thursday's rise was down nearly 39% against the dollar this year.

The main share index rose 2.1 per cent, with the banking index up 4.8 per cent. Dollar-denominated bonds issued by the Turkish government rose across the curve. "Erdogan´s speech. was meant to put distance between himself and the (bank´s) decision".

"My sensitivities concerning interest rates are the same, nothing has changed", he said.

The bank said on Thursday that inflation developments pointed "to significant risks to price stability" due to the recent fall in value of the lira.

Phoenix Kalen, director of EM strategy at Societe Generale, said the market was both pleased and confused by the bank move.

"Interest rates are the cause, inflation is the result".

The bank´s intervention was the latest aggressive rate hike to calm economic turbulence in an emerging market after the Argentinian central bank´s recent hike from 45 to 60 percent on August 30.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) raised the rate from 17.75% to 24%, significantly higher than the analysts' consensus of 21%, and in apparent defiance of the president, who has regularly expressed resistance to raising rates.

That decision sent the lira tumbling by a quarter and prompted Turkish authorities to impose a series of measures meant to support the currency.

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