Rising US yields hurt TL, stocks

The dollar index has lost roughly 12% since a three-year peak in March. However, it is now more than 1.3% above the almost three-year low it hit last week. It rose 0.1% to 90.418 on Monday.  The first fallout from rising U.S. Treasury yields has emerged, with a stronger dollar buffeting emerging-market currencies such as South Africa’s rand and the Brazilian real, commented Bloomberg on Friday. Monday, the new darling of carry traders, TL, too, took a hit, losing 1.39% by 1:30 pm.  TL denominated bonds shrugged the US bond rout in thin trade, but Turkey’s Eurobonds were retreating across the maturity and rating spectrum.

 

The surge in the key global benchmark yield is raising the prospect of a pause in the dollar’s recent slide, which could undermine the rally in risk assets. Developing economies that are reliant on external financing may find their currencies especially vulnerable to any sustained strength in the greenback, adds Bloomberg.  Turkey is one of the most vulnerable countries with $150 bn FX debt maturing in the next 12 months.  Friday’s December cash budget revealed a TL35 bn decline in Treasury deposits, which would require higher borrowing in 1-2Q2021, as the epidemic takes its toll on employment.

 

 

According to Turkstat, the broad gauge of unemployment rose to 29% in October survey, with an estimated 10 million unemployed. The government will have to pay income support to the growing army of unemployed, as well as to small merchants and shopkeepers who are losing their enterprises due to epidemic-related closures and lockdowns.

 

It is difficult to imagine US 10 year bond yields rising above 1.25%, a reference value PA Turkey picked, which happens to be the Bloomberg survey end-2021 consensus.  With yields remaining in negative territory in most of Euro-zone, interest rate arbitrage would keep US yields low.  Yet, their lies the dilemma:  Such arbitrage could strengthen the dollar, as overseas investors rush into US government bonds.

 

Turkish Treasury and corporates will be hurt more by a stronger dollar than higher yields.   Currently, the Central Bank pursues a hands-off policy in terms of the exchange rate, but its hope is to bolster its FX reserves if and when the TL appreciates.  Higher bond yields leading to sell-off in EM currencies or a stronger dollar could spoil these plans, bringing to the surface Turkey’s chronic external financing bottleneck.

 

 

Atilla Yesilada

 

 

 

 

Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.