Turkish lira eases, Koc Holding down on cancelled tender

Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:07am EST

* Lira eases, stocks and bond yields steady

* Koc Holding falls after Turkey cancels road tender deal

ISTANBUL Feb 25 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira eased on Monday on persistent selling following the central bank's decision to cut interest rates last week, and shares in Koc Holding dipped after Turkey cancelled a tender it had won to run toll roads and bridges.

The lira has been under pressure since the central bank cut two main interest rates last Tuesday, and as investors' appetite for riskier assets diminished on concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve would stop pumping more dollars into currency markets.

Bond yields were steady, with two-year benchmark bonds inching up two basis points to 5.69 percent, and benchmark stocks eased 0.17 percent to 75,769 points, underperforming a 0.12 percent rise in the global emerging markets index.

At 0905 GMT, the lira traded at 1.7983 to the dollar , after hitting a three-month low of 1.8037 in early trade, down from 1.7965 late on Friday. Against a euro-dollar basket it fell to 2.0904 from 2.0797.

"Investors continue to sell the lira after the central bank meeting. The bank's comments about the lira's real exchange rate and the rate cuts will likely weaken the lira for a while," said Burcin Metin, head of forex at ING Bank.

Investors were eyeing the outcome of a meeting by Turkey's competition regulator with a dozen banks on Monday to hear their defence for alleged collusion in setting loan rates, with a final verdict due within 15 days.

"If the joint price setting behaviour becomes the final verdict, the penalty is said to be no less than the 2 percent of the banks' revenues and the upper limit is at 10 percent. The upper limit would hurt the profitability of banks considerably," wrote Ayse Colak, executive vice president at Tera Brokers.

Shares in Koc Holding, Turkey's largest company, and its fellow consortium bidder Gozde Girisim fell nearly 3 percent each after the government said it cancelled a $5.7 billion they won in December to operate toll roads and bridges over the Bosphorus because the price was too low.