Turkish lira's free-fall rocks equity markets, euro falls

By Herbert Lash and Ritvik Carvalho

NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) – A plunge in the Turkish lira rocked global equities and emerging markets on Friday and fear of more turmoil sent investors scurrying for safety in assets like the yen and U.S. government bonds.

European shares and a gauge of global equity markets fell more than 1 percent, while stocks on Wall Street were down about half as much. German stocks slid 2 percent.

The lira fell as much as 18 percent against the dollar in its worst day since Turkey’s financial crisis of 2001. The plunge followed a deepening rift with the United States, worries about its own economy and lack of action from policymakers.

President Tayyip Erdogan told Turks to swap gold and dollars into lira as the currency tumbled after President Donald Trump doubled U.S. tariffs on metals imports from Turkey. The lira has fallen more than 40 percent this year, fanning worries about a full-blown economic crisis.

Bank shares across Europe fell and the euro slipped to its lowest since July 2017 as the Financial Times quoted sources as saying the European Central Bank was concerned about European lenders’ exposure to Turkey. The country is not a member of the European Union but is economically linked to it.

The dollar rose as exposure to Turkey could impact European banks and spark a domino effect as people begin to pull out of those banks and into U.S. assets, said Gregan Anderson, macroeconomic strategist at brokerage Bulltick LLC.

The turmoil has made it difficult for global investors to justify remaining in Europe and is negative for emerging markets, he said.

Policy errors created the current

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