ISTANBUL Dec 20 Turkey's central bank kept
interest rates on hold on Tuesday, in a move unexpected by
analysts as the sliding lira currency took a back seat to
President Tayyip Erdogan's push for cheaper credit.
The bank kept its benchmark one-week repo rate unchanged at
8 percent. Thirteen of 18 economists in a Reuters poll had
expected a hike in the repo rate. Eight forecast an increase of
25 basis points and five of 50 points.
It also kept its overnight lending rate at 8.5 percent and
its overnight borrowing rate at 7.25 percent.
A majority of economists had also forecast a hike in the
overnight lending rate, which is the upper band of the bank's
interest rate corridor.
The lira has lost 17 percent of its value against the dollar
this year, hit by both the strengthening greenback and investor
concerns about a crackdown by authorities in the aftermath of a
failed July coup.
The lira fell again on Monday after the Russian ambassador
to Turkey was shot dead as he gave a speech in the capital
Ankara. But it then rebounded on relief that Moscow and Ankara
struck a unified tone after the Ankara attack.
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan)