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ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira weakened 2% on Tuesday before trimming losses, extending its decline into a ninth consecutive day towards record lows it hit in December as concerns about global recession fuel selling pressure on the currency.

The lira weakened as much as 15.8890 against the dollar by 0910 GMT from a close of 15.55 on Monday. It later pared some losses to as much as 15.70 by 1156 GMT.

The currency has lost 17% so far this year, mainly due to concerns about Turkey’s economy, given soaring inflation and a gaping current account deficit.

Bankers generally do not expect a sharp decline in the short term similar to the one in December, which saw the lira plummet to 18.4 against the dollar, and end year down 44%.

But they say there is a “great” risks of further depreciation if there are no new foreign currency inflows in the medium to long term to support the lira.

The currency remained relatively stable in the first months of the year, largely thanks to a government scheme that protects lira deposits against depreciation, as well as the central bank meeting the market’s forex needs through its reserves.

The central bank’s net forex reserves are expected to have dropped some $3 billion-$4 billion last week, from $15 billion a week earlier, according to calculations by three bankers.

The war in Ukraine began to exert pressure on the lira in March as Western sanctions on Russia sent energy prices soaring, pushing up Turkey’s already hefty import bill.

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