ANKARA, Turkey: The Turkish lira dropped 1 percent in value for an eighth consecutive session to beyond 15.65 against the U.S. dollar, reaching the record weak levels it hit in December after a series of interest rate cuts.
The currency lost 16 percent of its value against the U.S. currency this year, after a slide of 44 percent in 2021, weakening as far as 15.6605 before edging back to 15.595.
In March, Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions on Russia sent energy prices soaring and further pressured the lira, while pushing up Turkey's already high import bill.
Central bank data released this week showed Turkey's current account deficit in March increased to $5.554 billion, exceeding a Reuters poll prediction of $5.371 billion.
The country's exchange rate was seen in a 15.5 to 16.0 range going forward, and it has yet to be determined whether authorities will defend the level of 16.0 against the U.S. dollar, traders told Reuters.
In a note, research platform Istanbul Analytics said central bank reserves, by a very rough estimate, have started to be depleted by $7 to $10 billion per month, excluding currency interventions.
There was a "very high probability of a currency shock," similar to the one in December or the announcement of capital controls within a month, it added.
Piotr Matys, senior FX analyst at In Touch Capital Markets in London, said the widening of the current account deficit driven by energy imports has cast doubt over government plans to curb inflation.
"The government notion and the central bank notion that Turkey will be able to bring inflation lower in coming quarters if the current account deficit narrows is being put to a major test, as the current account deficit moves in the wrong direction," he added.
Last year's currency crisis was triggered by an aggressive easing cycle implemented by President Tayyip Erdogan, despite rising inflation, which, along with the repercussions of the Ukraine war, drove up inflation to 70 percent in April.