Turkey And Russia May Ditch Greenback For Direct Lira-Ruble Trade

Moscow and Ankara may circumvent the US Dollar amid an exploding currency crisis and trade directly with each other using the Russian ruble and Turkish lira, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

"The issue of using national currencies in bilateral trade operations is a topic that has been raised by the Russian side for a long time and consistently at various levels, including at the top level," said Peskov, adding "This is what we are striving for in our bilateral trade and economic relations, and what has been repeatedly mentioned at the bilateral Russian-Turkish talks."

The Lira has been on a rollercoaster of late, surging after Turkish regulators imposed new "soft capital controls" - and boosted by a $15 billion direct investment in Qatar on Tuesday. The Turkish Capital Markets Board regulator also announced that they set the leverage ratio in the Lira FX market has been set at 1:1 until Sept. 3. The regulator cites “serious price moves” in such pairs recently that are devoid of a rational economic or financial reason, and notes that the step targets to prevent grievances that may occur after Feast of Sacrifice holiday, during which Turkish markets will be closed.

Both the Lira and the Ruble haver been crushed under the weight of US sanctions - with Ankara drawing sharp rebuke over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey - who faces 35 years in a Turkish prison. An appeal by the United States for Brunson's release from house arrest and a release on his travel ban was rejected on Wedensday, according to Turkish media. 

Bunson was arrested in October 2016 in a government crackdown following an attempted coup in July 2016. Brunson was shifted from jail to house arrest in July 2018. The 50-year-old pastor is being tried on terror and espionage-related charges, which Brunson and the US government vehemently deny. 

The US also slapped Russia with new sanctions last week over the unproven poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal. The Ruble fell to its lowest level against the greenback since 2016 on the news. 

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