Turkish lira eases ahead of economic programme announcement

ISTANBUL, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira weakened slightly on Thursday ahead of the announcement by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak of the government’s medium-term economic programme, eroding gains which it made a day earlier.

The lira stood at 6.2675 against the dollar at 0538 GMT, easing from a close of 6.2541 on Wednesday, when it gained sharply as investors weighed up expectations for the three-year economic programme to 2021.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak will unveil the programme at 11 am (0800 GMT). He has promised “realistic macro targets” and “right action plans”.

Sources have said Turkey will cut its growth forecasts for this year and next as the country deals with a currency crisis, which has knocked some 40 percent of the value of the lira against the dollar this year.

The currency has been hit by concerns over President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over monetary policy. A diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington over the trial of a U.S. evangelical pastor in Turkey has added to pressure on the lira.

The central bank hiked interest rates by 6.25 percentage points last week in a bid to tame double-digit inflation and put a floor under the lira. The currency has made moderate gains since then. (Reporting by Daren Butler)