Turkey's economic woes hurt euro, emerging market currencies

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The fallout from the Turkish lira’s plunge sent the euro to a new 13-month low and hammered emerging market currencies as investors worried about contagion scrambled for the safety of the yen and the Swiss franc.

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Turkey’s lira clawed back some losses on Monday from a record low 7.24 lira per dollar after the country’s central bank said it would provide liquidity and cut reserve requirements for banks, but the currency was still down around 10 percent on the day. It has shed more than two-fifths of its value in 2018.

That knocked emerging market currencies. The South African rand was down 1.5 percent, after earlier falling over 10 percent to a more than two-year low in earlier trading. The Indian rupee stumbled to a record low, while the Mexican peso lost more than 1 percent.

Investors have grown increasingly concerned about President Tayyip Erdogan’s growing control over the economy and a deepening diplomatic rift with the United States, with those concerns snowballing into a market panic last week.

Aaron Hurd, senior portfolio manager in the currency group at SSGA in Boston, said however that while contagion was happening, it was “muted when compared to other emerging market crises.”

(GRAPHIC: Turkish lira sell-off since Aug 10 -

Nevertheless, traders anxious about the euro and emerging market currencies piled into yen and Swiss franc, which are seen as safe-haven currencies in times of market turbulence.

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Anxiety about Spanish, Italian and other European banks’ exposure to Turkey hurt the euro, as did nervousness over political uncertainty in Italy.

The single currency fell to $1.1365, the lowest since July 2017, before buying emerged which pushed it to $1.1423, up 0.1 percent from Friday, according to EBS data.

The MSCI index on world equity prices fell to a one-month low.

Earlier on Monday, the euro touched 125.15 yen, the lowest since May 30 before recovering to 126.31 yen, while it weakened to a one-year low of 1.1285 Swiss franc per euro

The dollar slipped to its lowest in over six weeks against the yen at 110.95 yen. The greenback was down 0.2 percent to 0.9936 franc.

The dollar, which has rallied since the lira crisis, lost 0.2 percent to 96.177 against a basket of major currencies, below its 13-month high of 96.522.

Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in LONDON; Editing by Susan Thomas