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Turkey ETF Recovers as Selling Starts Up Again

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

Wednesday's relief rally in the iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (TUR) was short-lived as the lone exchange traded fund tracking Turkish equities plunged Thursday even after the central bank there dramatically hiked interest rates.

The rate hike did not stem the lira's slump, prompting traders to continue selling TUR, which is down about 28% year-to-date. TUR also resides nearly 30% below its 200-day moving average, a level the ETF has not closed above since late in the first quarter.

“Interestingly, data suggests options traders had been betting on the $30 level acting as a floor for TUR. Peak open interest resides at the June 30 put, where more than 9,000 contracts were seemingly sold to open back on May 15. These put writers are hoping the ETF holds above the round-number mark for another three weeks, with the front-month options due to expire at the close on Friday, June 15,” according to Schaeffer's Investment Research.

The Turkish economy has suffered from a widening current account deficit, double-digit inflation and recent comments from President Tayyip Erdogan whom called himself the “enemy of interest rates”.

Mounting Controversy With Turkey ETF 

TUR's slump comes ahead of national elections in Turkey, which are slated for June. Last year, Turkish voters voted to disband the country’s parliamentary system and install a strong presidential form of government. That scenario, among others, contributed to strained diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Turkey.

With the country’s penchant for political volatility, the specter of another election could be weighing on investors’ near-term views of the country’s financial markets. Data suggest some traders are comfortable betting on more declines for TUR.

“Some traders looking to bet on an extended slide have turned to shorting the ETF. By the numbers, short interest rose 14.5% in the last two reporting periods. TUR's short interest ratio now stands at 5.0, meaning it would take short sellers a week to buy back their positions, based on average daily volumes,” reports Schaeffer's.

TUR, which tracks the MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index, has a three-year standard deviation of 25.30%, meaning the fund is more volatile than broader baskets of emerging markets stocks.

For more information on the Turkish markets, visit our Turkey category.