Turkey’s lira weakened by 0.7% on Monday as investor unease over the ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria was further impacted by a global flight to safe havens in the face of the coronavirus spread.
The lira stood at 6.14 against the dollar at 0700 GMT, weakening from a close of 6.1045 on Friday. It has fallen 3% so far this year in addition to a slide of some 36% over the past two years.
Turkish troops are stationed and are poised for battle in Syria’s Idlib, where a 16th soldier was killed on Saturday. In the past few weeks, Turkey has funneled troops and equipment to Idlib and threatened to halt advances by Russia-backed Syrian government forces.
On the coronavirus issue, the large spike in Italian cases has especially rattled investors on concerns about the potential for the virus to spread deeper into Europe and cause economic disruption there.
Turkey has closed its border with Iran and halted incoming flights as a precaution to stop the potential spread of the virus after it reported 43 cases of the disease.
Investors have also been rattled by Ankara’s interventions in the currency market, which diminishes the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Traders and bankers say state banks have renewed efforts this year to buffer the lira after they sold some $30 billion last year.