Turkish lira tumbles to 5.86 over threat of more USA sanctions

US dollar banknotes are seen in this

The downgrade was triggered by what it described as a further weakening of Turkey's public institutions and a related reduction in the predictability of Turkish policymaking, Moody's said.

President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly called for his release, while Erdogan has said the US should respect Turkey's judicial process.

"There was considerable risk aversion through the early part of the week with fears of Turkish contagion weighing on risk assets and that seems to have reversed somewhat here", said Karl Schamotta, a strategist at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto. He said Turkey would "do well not to test @POTUS Trump's resolve" over the issue. "They can't take our people".

The Trump administration has threatened to levy more sanctions against Turkey, a move that has rattled the nation's financial markets.

The Turkish government has also complained about what it calls USA support for Kurdish rebel groups fighting in northern Syria, and it has condemned the US refusal to extradite the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey has accused of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt.

Also Friday, in more verbal sparring, Turkey's trade minister said her government would respond in kind to any new trade duties from the United States after U.S. Treasury chief Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. could put more sanctions on Turkey if the pastor is not released soon.

S&P said the downgrade of the debt rating to "B+" "reflects our expectation that the extreme volatility of the Turkish lira" which will undermine Turkey s economy. It also rejected an appeal for his travel ban to be lifted, Anadolu reported.

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Brunson's continued detention has aggravated a feud between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and has helped trigger a Turkish currency crisis.

Turkey sent troops into northern Syria two years ago to fight against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey, in turn, criticized the prosecution in the USA of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a top official at Turkey's state-controlled Halkbank who was convicted of helping Iran avoid US sanctions.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was down 0.56 percent at 96.107, on pace for its worst daily decline in almost a month.

The dollar fell against a basket of peers on Friday, retreating from a 13-month high hit earlier this week, on lower demand for the safe-haven greenback and some profit-taking, as worries about trade tensions between Washington and Beijing eased.

The White House stance appeared to give Turkish authorities little incentive to work for the release of Andrew Brunson, a pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges and whose case Turkish officials have said was a matter for the courts. "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!" he tweeted.

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