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Stocks edge higher as Turkey worries offset U.S.-China trade talks

18 August 2018

A higher court in Turkey's Izmir Province has rejected an appeal to dismiss the charges against a USA pastor whose prosecution has provoked tensions in U.S.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that Washington has more sanctions ready if Turkey refuses to release Brunson, while U.S. President Donald Trump said during a cabinet meeting at the White House that Turkey "hasn't turned out to be a great friend".

Brent was at just over $70 a barrel and USA crude oil last stood at $65.12 a barrel, having fallen to two-month lows of $64.42 a barrel, following Wednesday's 3.2% fall.

The leader of Turkey's main opposition party said Erdogan was using the standoff over the evangelical pastor as a "pretext", blaming the United States for economic problems and diverting attention from his own alleged mismanagement.

President Trump responded to the Turkish court's decision on Friday, saying, "We are not going to take it sitting down". "They can't take our people".

Brunson has denied those charges.

After having clawed back most of its losses on Friday and Monday, when it shed 20 percent of its value against the dollar, the lira began falling again on the new sanctions threats, dropping by five percent at one point. Turkey's dollar bonds fell, while the cost of insuring exposure to Turkish debt rose.

When Mr Kilic sought to tie conditions to Mr Brunson's release, Mr Bolton waved them aside and said there would be no negotiations.

US stocks extended gains on Friday and risk sentiment improved following a Wall Street Journal report on potential progress in easing trade tensions between the United States and China.

Others agreed. "American sanctions will have no effect on us as long as we remain united", said another man, Ibrahim Aktar.

The statement was published just a day after Pekcan announced that Turkey would challenge the recently imposed United States tariffs at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Sputnik reported.

An Istanbul court allowed the release of Amnesty International's Turkey chair Taner Kilic Wednesday, who spent more than a year in jail over alleged links to the 2016 coup bid.

Turkey's banking watchdog has taken steps to stabilise the currency, limiting futures transactions for offshore investors and lowering limits on swap transactions.

Ratings agency Fitch said the absence of an orthodox monetary policy response to the lira's fall, and the rhetoric of Turkish authorities, had "increased the difficulty of restoring economic stability and sustainability".

The national currency recovered somewhat from record lows hit earlier this week, a day after Qatar pledged 15 billion dollars (£11 billion) in investments to help Turkey's economy.

Its proximity to conflict-ridden states and involvement in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation poses a serious concern of possible worldwide effects of a potential economic collapse.

Stocks edge higher as Turkey worries offset U.S.-China trade talks