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Lira Drops as Current-Account Deficit Widens, Missing Estimates

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March 12 (Bloomberg) -- The lira weakened after Turkey’s current-account deficit widened more than analysts estimated.

The lira gave back all of yesterday’s gain after central bank data showed the current-account gap expanded to $5.63 billion in January, from $4.69 billion in December, missing the $5.3 billion median-estimate of nine analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

“We expect imports to pickup in the coming months and the current-account deficit to start to widen gradually,” Turk Ekonomi Bankasi AS analysts including Selim Cakir and Emre Tekmen wrote in a note. The deficit will probably reach $60 billion or 6.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, the analysts said.

The lira fell 0.3 percent to 1.8041 per dollar at 5:28 p.m. in Istanbul, after appreciating 0.5 percent yesterday. Yields on two-year benchmark notes dropped one basis point to 5.81 percent, after rising four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, yesterday to their highest level in a month.

The current-account shortfall jumped to 10 percent of gross domestic product at $75.1 billion in 2011, sending the lira 18 percent lower in what was the world’s biggest depreciation. A slowing economy last year helped in stemming the deficit to $46.9 billion, according to revised figures released by the central bank today.

“In the coming period, the deficit will continue to increase and this is probably disturbing foreign investors,” Tufan Comert, a strategist at Garanti Securities in Istanbul, said.

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

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