Lira Heads for 3-Week High on Policy Move in Japan; Yields Rise

The lira headed for the highest in more than three weeks after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly expanded its asset-purchase program and the Turkish central bank cut overnight lending rates by less than forecast.

The lira gained less than 0.1 percent to 1.7962 per dollar at 6:03 p.m. in Istanbul, poised for the highest since Aug. 23. Yields on two-year benchmark bonds rose seven basis points, or 0.07 percentage point, to 7.39 percent.

Turkey’s central bank yesterday reduced its overnight rate, the top end of its so-called interest-rate corridor, by 150 basis points to 10 percent, according to its website. The bank held its one-week repo cost at 5.75 percent, the bottom end of its rates band. The Bank of Japan lifted the size of its asset-purchase fund by 10 trillion yen ($126 billion), seeking to stimulate growth in the world’s third-largest economy.

“It seems that the market feared a bigger rate cut and is happy with the 150 basis point cut,” Murat Toprak, head of currency strategy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at HSBC, said in e-mailed comments.

Two other factors may also be behind a stronger lira, Toprak said, pointing to the squeezing of short lira positions built up in the past one or two months and the BoJ’s expansionary monetary policy move today.

One-year interest-rate swaps fell for the first time in three days to 7.04 percent.

Yesterday’s cut was the first time central bank Governor Erdem Basci has changed the range of his interest-rate corridor since lowering the top end by 100 basis points in February.

The lira appreciated 1.4 percent this month, the second-worst among 10 currencies tracked by Bloomberg in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE