TROUBLE IN TURKEY: Currency PLUNGES 20% After Trump DOUBLES Metal Tariff

Air Force Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker as it touches down on the flight line at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey

The President announced the stiff tariffs on social media Friday morning, saying he was "authorizing a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum with respect to Turkey".

Turkey's economy is regarded as fragile because of its high debt, which the global Monetary Fund estimates is 50 percent of its gross domestic product.

The New York Times suggested that Trump could also be trying to offset the effects of Turkey's weakened currency on the existing tariffs.

Turkey is world's sixth-biggest steel producer, and eighth largest steel importer for the USA according to the International Trade Administration. Trump wrote. "Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%".

President Donald Trump abruptly announced Friday that he would double the rate of import tariffs on Turkish metals - forcing Turkey to ask citizens to buy its own crashing currency.

Erdogan, who says a shadowy "interest rate lobby" and Western credit ratings agencies are attempting to undermine Turkey's economy, said Turks should exchange their gold and dollars into lira to help the currency.

The lira tumbled 13% in one day, to 6.51 per U.S. dollar, a massive move for a currency that will make the Turkish poorer and further shake worldwide investors' confidence in the country.

Early in his administration, President Donald Trump was criticized for placing a congratulatory call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - an authoritarian leader.

The sudden announcement turned a run on the Turkish lira into a rout; it crashed more than 18 percent to a new record low against the dollar.

"One area we are more concerned about is contagion into the European market via the banking sector". The U.S. responded by slapping sanctions on Turkey and threatening more.

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"All the steps taken against Turkey will be given a befitting response as they have been given before", he vowed. Rate increases are the central bank's main tool to support the currency and fight inflation.

"The lira has been weakening since and it's coming to a head today", Wilson said, adding the downward spiral will continue if Turkey insists on a soft landing.

The ratio of foreign holdings of government debt stood at just under 20 percent at the end of last month - largely unchanged from 22 percent in late February. That is because a trade war would make it even harder for Turkey to get the dollars it needs, so the lira would be even less valuable.

When Brunson was remanded from prison to house arrest, Trump tweeted that Brunson was "a great Christian family man and wonderful human being" who was "suffering greatly".

Stocks sold off around the world, with USA equities erasing what would've been a sixth weekly gain as Turkey's economic crisis deepened.

Erdogan said Turkey is not afraid of outside "threats".

But the immediate trigger is North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained in Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir since October 2016 on thinly supported espionage and terror charges.

Shortly after Mr Trump's tweet, Mr Erdogan spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A diplomatic source, however, familiar with talks of Turkish deputy foreign minister Sedat Onal in Washington this week, told The National that exchanging Mr Brunson for Mr Atilla is not on the table from the U.S. side.

FILE PHOTO: A money changer counts Turkish lira bills at an currency exchange office in central Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2015.

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