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Lira Snaps Seven-Month Losing Streak on Dovish Fed Expectations

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Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The lira ended its longest losing streak since August on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will calm financial markets after Italy’s inconclusive elections.

The currency recovered from its lowest level since October as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is set to testify on monetary policy today before the Senate Banking Committee. The lira fell as much as 0.3 percent earlier today after it emerged Silvio Berlusconi, the former premier who has vowed to reverse austerity measures, and Beppo Grillo, who also opposes crisis-fighting measures, won about 55 percent of the popular vote in Italy, raising the possibility of a repeat election.

“Today we are seeing optimism with regard to Bernanke,” Bulent Topbas, a fund manager at Strateji Menkul Degerler AS in Istanbul, said in e-mailed comments. “People are expecting Bernanke to fine-tune the markets in a positive direction and say that the music will continue.”

The lira gained 0.3 percent to 1.8038 per dollar at 5:02 p.m. in Istanbul. It has weakened 2.5 percent this month, pushing the currency below its 200-day moving average against the dollar. Yields on two-year benchmark bonds fell three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 5.7 percent.

The U.S. economy is recovering while still “far from healthy and vibrant conditions we would like to see,” Bernanke said Feb. 15 at G-20 meeting in Moscow. “We believe that by strengthening the U.S. economy we are helping to strengthen the global economy as well.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Selcuk Gokoluk in Istanbul at sgokoluk@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net