Daily News Roundup

August 14, 2018

Image: The Courier Mail

TUESDAY, August 14

Turkey’s lira has recouped some of its earlier losses after the country’s central bank took steps to stem the currency’s freefall.

The measures come after the Turkish lira hit record lows against the dollar amid a widening diplomatic spat with the United States, news agencies reported.

Turkey’s central bank said on Monday it had lowered reserve requirement ratios for banks, pledging to take all necessary measures to maintain financial stability.

Also helping was Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak’s comments the country had drafted an action plan to ease investor concerns while the banking watchdog said it limited swap transactions.

Yet the US dollar was still up more than nine per cent on the day at 6.9743 lira. This time last month it was at 4.8450.

The currency has lost more than 40 per cent against the dollar this year, largely over worries about President Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates, and worsening ties with the United States.

“The plunge in the lira, which began in May, now looks certain to push the Turkish economy into recession and it may well trigger a banking crisis,” said Andrew Kenningham, chief global economist at Capital Economics.

“This would be another blow for EMs as an asset class, but the wider economic spillovers should be fairly modest, even for the eurozone,” he added.

Kenningham noted Turkey’s annual gross domestic product of around $US900 billion ($A1.2 trillion) was just one per cent of the global economy and slightly smaller than the Netherlands.

The Turkish equity market was less than two per cent of the size of the UK market, and only 20 per cent was held by non-residents, he added.

“Nonetheless, Turkey’s troubles are a further headwind for the euro and are not good news for EM assets either.”

Analysts at ANZ delivered a stark assessment on Turkey’s financial stability.

“Turkey’s massive pile of corporate debt denominated in foreign currencies, but a rapidly sliding currency – and inflation that’s threatening to go exponential – is a toxic combination.”

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Fans and friends of Aretha Franklin, including Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott, have offered prayers and well wishes for the singer, who is reportedly very unwell.

A person close to Franklin, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press (AP) that the singer is seriously ill.

No more details were provided.

Carey,  who considers Franklin one of her biggest influences, wrote on Twitter that she is “praying for the Queen of Soul”.

Elliott said the public should celebrate iconic artists before they die.

“So many [of them] have given us decades of timeless music,” the rapper wrote on Twitter.

Mark Frost, Andy Cohen and Ciara also posted about Franklin, who is known for hits like Respect and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

Franklin cancelled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.

She was originally scheduled to perform on her 76th birthday in March in Newark, New Jersey, and at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April.

Last year, the icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “som

Last year, the icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “some select things”.

One of those select events was a gala for Elton John’s 25th anniversary of his AIDS foundation in November in New York City, where Franklin closed the event with a collection of songs including I Say a Little Prayer and Freeway.

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Queensland will bring forward $8 million for a $9 million drought relief package with a focus on farmers’ mental health, reports the Australian.

The $9 million includes $1 million in new funding and will be spread across a number of existing programs, including a $4 million injection over four years for the the Wellbeing Service provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said mental health was a major component of the government’s response to the drought.

“This (drought) is having a huge emotional and mental health toll on a lot of families,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk was at the annual Ekka show in Brisbane on Monday, and said she had heard heartbreaking stories from farmers about conditions in rural parts of the state.

The premier also announced the appointment of two drought commissioners to provide her with information about the effectiveness of drought assistance programs.

Responding to questions about the timing of the funding announced on Monday, when the state has seen drought conditions for a number of years, Ms Palaszczuk said successive Queensland governments had committed $670 million over the last five years towards the issue.

“When we’re not dealing with droughts, we’re dealing with cyclones, we’re dealing with floods,” the premier said.

“I know there is a huge generosity of Queensland spirit out there where we all want to help those in need.”

 

This daily news roundup is curated with stories from The Australian.

 

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