Turkish lira leads losses after rate cut
* Turkey cenbank cuts key interest rate by 100 bps
* Brazil economy minister raises economic growth forecast
By Susan Mathew
Aug 18 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira led losses among emerging market currencies on Thursday after the country's central bank delivered a shock one percentage point cut in the key lending rate, while a stronger dollar saw Brazil's real erase almost all session gains.
The dollar firmed after U.S. Federal Reserve minutes showed it intended to keep raising interest rates to tame inflation though they tempered to an extent bets for a third 75-basis-points hike and offered no new insights on the Fed's stance.
Turkey's lira TRY= fell 0.9% after the central bank cut the main interest rate to 13% despite inflation nearing 80%. Markets had expected the rate to be kept unchanged.
"This latest move could be the trigger for yet another currency crisis," said Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.
"The authorities are in no position at all to support the lira. If the (central bank) is to pursue further rate cuts over the coming months, we suspect that it will turn to more restrictive capital controls."
The central bank's decision goes against moves by most other emerging market peers which are on a hiking cycle to rein in surging inflation.
The lira had declined 44% last year, thanks to 500 bps of cuts as the country's President Tayyip Erdogan demanded stimulus to drive economic drive. The currency is down 26% so far this year, and is among the worst performing emerging market currencies.
South Africa's rand ZAR= which tends to fall in sympathy with the lira, was down 0.7%.
In Latam, Brazil's real BRBY rose up to 0.7% before paring some gains. Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes predicted on Wednesday that the economy would grow by more than 2.5% this year, improving his 2% forecast from June.
Mexico's peso MXN= inched up, while other regional currencies slipped.
Chile's peso CLP= weakened 1% after data on Thursday showed services activities drove a 5.4% expansion in the country's economy in the second quarter from a year earlier, but the figure came in below expectations of a 5.7% rise.
Colombia's peso COP= fell 0.9%, extending gains to a third straight session.
Inflation expectations in Colombia show consumer prices may take a "longer period" to return to the central bank's long-term target of 3%, the bank board's head Leonardo Villar said on Wednesday.
Inflation in the Andean country was 10.21% in annual terms in July, its highest in 22 years and more than triple the target. The central bank board has raised the benchmark interest rate by 725 basis points since September, taking it to 9%. Analysts predict rate rises will stop at 10% before the end of the year.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1316 GMT: Stock indexes
change MSCI Emerging Markets
change Brazil real
Colombia peso COP=
-0.85 Peru sol
-0.16 (interbank) ARS=RASL
Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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