- The Turkish lira has plummeted to record lows after President Tayyip Erdogan defended recent sharp interest rate cuts.
- The lira has lost 43% of its value this year and more than 22% alone since the beginning of last week.
- Turks trying to buy iPhones received online error messages from Apple Inc’s local website.
Turks trying to buy iPhones and other electronics received online error messages on Wednesday, including from Apple Inc’s local website, after a historic dive of 15% in the lira the day before caused price chaos.
The currency fell back to its lowest record on Wednesday, driven by concerns about broader downturns for the economy, after President Tayyip Erdogan defended the recent sharp interest rate cuts despite widespread criticism and calls for a turnaround.
The lira has lost 43% of its value this year and more than 22% alone since the beginning of last week.
On the other hand, goods priced in local currency have experienced an effective sharp discount compared to prices elsewhere, where retailers are struggling to keep up with price adjustments in the midst of market turmoil.
A Turkish spokesman for Apple was not immediately available for comment.
Apple’s Turkish website halted sales of most products and displayed a “Currently unavailable” message, a Reuters poll showed. Local prices for phones and computers were about 10% below US prices after the sudden depreciation of the lira.
A sales representative at an Apple store in Istanbul said people thought of electronics as an investment as much as goods to be used.
“It’s pretty surreal with the economy and everything, but people see it as a value store and flock to the stores. They know they’ll be able to sell it a year later for more than they paid,” the person said. requests anonymity.
The worst and best time to buy
Customers flocked to exclusive import brands, primarily electronics and cosmetics, said an official in Turkish e-commerce business.
The meltdown of the lira coincides with
sales and the start of New Year’s discounts, which raises fears that some consumer goods would not be available or face large price increases.
“Most marketplaces ask their bestsellers to keep prices stable and refrain from increases, at least during the discount week. Since both sellers and the marketplace need each other, sellers commit,” an Istanbul-based e-commerce employee told Reuters.
Caner, a graphic designer in Istanbul in the market for an electric scooter, said: “It’s the worst time to spend money, but there will not be a better time. Prices may look expensive now, but they are cheaper than those, they will be next week. “
In general, store owners in Istanbul were dismal.
“We are waiting for surprises. What should we do?” said Sami, a fishmonger. “We live in a rented house, there is also gas, electricity, water. I do not know how to deal with it.”
Ercument Tepe, a hairdresser, said he kept his store lights off but still had an electricity bill of 800 lira ($ 63).
“I even close the store at night without having had a single customer during the day, but the bill is at 800 lira. It is impossible not to go crazy,” he said.