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Lira Appreciates Most in Month on Bets of Basci Backstop, Syria

The lira strengthened the most in a month on investor speculation the Turkish central bank will support the currency and as prospects of an imminent strike on Syria faded. Stocks climbed.

The currency appreciated 1.1 percent, the steepest advance since Aug. 2 on a closing basis, to 2.0160 per dollar at 5:22 p.m. in Istanbul after gaining as much as 1.3 percent, the most since Dec. 2011. The lira slid 5.1 percent last month, the worst performer among 31 major currencies after Indonesia’s rupiah and the Indian rupee. Yields on 10-year bonds fell 24 basis points to 10.04 percent, the lowest level since Aug. 22, and the BIST National 100 Index surged 3 percent.

Governor Erdem Basci said last week the central bank wouldn’t provide repo funding at its 4.5 percent benchmark interest rate today and promised “surprise” tools to defend the lira without saying when these measures would be announced. He vowed to keep rates unchanged this year. The central bank sold $100 million for liras today.

The “market expects the central bank to announce further measures to lead the lira to recover its earlier weakness,” Erkin Isik, a fixed-income and currency strategist at Turk Ekonomi Bankasi AS, wrote in an e-mailed note. “Lack of any further measures may prompt further underperformance, at least against emerging markets.”

President Barack Obama said he’ll seek authorization from the U.S. Congress before ordering military action against Syria. Turkey, which borders Syria and has supported rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, has said it could be part of a Western attack against the country over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

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