Turkish tenders in lira, Erdogan says in attempt to boost currency

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, December 1, 2016. Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is taking steps towards launching state tenders in the lira currency, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, the government’s latest effort to shore up the tumbling currency.

Erdogan has called on Turks to cash in their foreign exchange holdings and buy lira and said Turkey was considering measures to allow commerce with China, Russia and Iran to be conducted in local currencies.

The lira TRYTOM=D3 has lost a fifth of its value this year, hit by a resurgent dollar and widening concern about a crackdown following the July 15 failed coup.

In a speech to flag-waving crowds in the central city of Kayseri, Erdogan said that Prime Minister Binali Yildirim would bring up the issue with Moscow during a forthcoming trip to Russia.

While the lira is Turkey’s official currency, tenders - and a lot of business deals - are often conducted in foreign currencies such as the dollar, making it easier for overseas companies to participate in deals with the state.

Most Turks are attuned to daily fluctuations in the dollar rate. It is also common for landlords in Istanbul, the country’s biggest city, to ask for rent in euro or dollars.

Reporting by Yesim Dikmen; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Clelia Oziel