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Turkish lira eases; Turkcell shares up
September 13, 2012 / 9:36 AM / 5 years ago

Turkish lira eases; Turkcell shares up

* Lira weakest in 3-months against eur/dlr basket

* Turkcell shares rise

* Bonds, shares flat

By Seltem Iyigun

ISTANBUL, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira hit its weakest in three months against its euro-dollar basket on Thursday as the prospect of slower growth weighed on investor sentiment, but shares in Turkcell rose on hopes of an end to a long-standing shareholder dispute.

The lira hit 2.0765 against its euro-dollar basket in early trade, its weakest level since June 5. By 0826 GMT, it stood at 2.0725, from 2.0693 late on Wednesday.

It was flat against the dollar at 1.8085.

Turkish bonds and shares were also flat.

Turkey’s economy grew a weaker-than-expected 2.9 percent in the second quarter and growth is expected to be even weaker in the third, making a full-year government growth target of 4 percent look increasingly unlikely.

The central bank said late in August it could start cutting rates sooner than expected. Investors expect it to cut the upper end of its interest rate corridor, the overnight lending rate, now at 11.5 percent, at its next policy meeting on Sept. 18.

“Following the central bank’s comments saying it will narrow the interest rate corridor, and the weak economic data, the lira has become a less attractive currency,” said Fatih Keresteci, strategist at HSBC.

The overnight interest rate on the lira has fallen to around 5 percent from above 11 percent at the start of the year as the central bank gradually eased policy by providing cheaper liquidity.

Shares in Turkey’s biggest mobile phone operator Turkcell rose as much as 2.3 percent after a regulatory change raised hopes of an end to deadlock among its major investors.

The Turkish Capital Markets Board (SPK) said listed firms which had failed to assign independent board members by the end of June could face legal action forcing them to do so.

Turkcell’s biggest shareholders have been unable to agree on the composition of its board for the past two years, meaning it has not distributed dividends in that time.

Turkcell shares pared some of their early gains to trade up 0.93 percent at 10.85 lira by 0822 GMT, outperforming Istanbul’s main share index, which was flat at 68,252 points. The MSCI emerging markets index was down 0.15 percent.

The yield on Turkey’s two-year benchmark bond stood flat at 7.33 percent. Since late August it has fallen around 60 basis points to a 20-month low on expectations of aggressive rate cuts by the central bank. (Writing by Seltem Iyigun; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Toby Chopra)

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