Turkish financial markets tumble after decision to renew Istanbul elections

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-08 00:24:06|Editor: yan
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ANKARA, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Turkish financial markets tumbled on Tuesday after the country's top electoral body ruled to re-run Istanbul mayoral elections, with the lira down 1.28 percent to its weakest level since the aftermath of last year's currency crisis.

The Turkish lira stood at 6.16 against the U.S. dollar at 18:00 local time (1500 GMT), from 6.08 on Monday, hitting its weakest level since last October.

As investors were concerned about new political tensions in Turkey and its commitment to economic reforms following a recession, it's first in a decade after years of sustained growth, and bonds and stocks were also sold off.

Interest rates on Turkey's benchmark 10-year lira bonds also climbed to 20.64 percent, a 4.3-percent rise since Monday.

The main BIST100 stock index closed down 1.61 percent to its lowest in a month.

Challenges by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party to the March 31 election results in Istanbul, which showed a slim victory for the main opposition Republican People's Party, had already hit the lira in recent weeks, raising investors' concerns.

Istanbul, Turkey's main commercial hub and biggest city with 15 million residents, accounts for one third of the country's economic activity.

The Supreme Election Council ruled on Monday to hold new elections on June 23 on the basis of irregularities, while the opposition denounced the decision as a blow to democracy.