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Turkish authorities have pressured the country’s banks to limit foreign currency purchases by corporate clients in a bid to halt the lira’s fall.

Istanbul bankers said they faced increased interference from the central bank, with officials investigating corporate foreign exchange transactions worth as little as $1 million.

“Even for 1 or 2 million dollars, they call to verify: who is the buyer?” said a senior Turkish banker. “They’re really anxious about the flow of businesses.”

In some cases, commercial banks have been ordered to refuse to facilitate currency purchases for customers, especially those worth more than $5 million.

The intrusions are the latest unconventional tactic by Turkish officials to stabilize a currency that has fallen 45% against the dollar in the past 12 months, sending inflation soaring. After four months of relative stability, the lira fell nearly 4% last week.

With the financial sector under political pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, bankers said they had no choice but to comply with requirements to obtain approval for large purchases of foreign currency.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of the news from the day — George

The news of the war in Ukraine

  • Agriculture: Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to destroy its agricultural sector by stealing valuable grain stocks and machinery, deliberately bombing farms and warehouses and blockading its Black Sea ports.

  • Oligarchs: Vladimir Potanin, who designed Russia’s infamous 1990s “loans for equity” program, is bringing assets back under Kremlin control. Its outsized importance to global metals markets has kept it off sanctions lists.

  • Oil cartel: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced the creation of a “cartel” of oil consumers to cap prices following a meeting with Joe Biden that included discussions on overhauling energy markets.

  • Kherson: Local officials installed by Moscow in Kherson, southern Ukraine, have said they intend to ask President Vladimir Putin to join Russia, the clearest sign yet that the Kremlin is considering rejoining Russia. annex the region.

Protesters shout at Russian soldiers during a pro-Ukrainian rally in Kherson in March. The protests have since failed after troops violently dispersed them © Olexandr Chornyi/AP

1. EU threatens retaliation if UK drops Northern Ireland Protocol The EU has pledged to retaliate if the UK tears up a post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland after London’s threat of unilateral action sparked alarm in Brussels and Washington. Joe Biden called on the UK to show “courage, cooperation and leadership” to resolve the simmering dispute.

2. European corporate bonds suffer the biggest sell-off in 20 years European corporate debt was hit by its largest ever decline on fears of high inflation and the threat of a recession. Bonds issued by highly rated eurozone companies have lost more than 10% of investors since peaking nine months ago.

3. UK delays plans to force environmental disclosure Ministers took the last-minute decision to drop the requirement for big companies and asset managers to disclose the environmental impacts of Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech, government sources say. The move came amid a broader pushback from tighter corporate governance.

4. Elliott will close its Tokyo office and move its Asian investments to London US hedge fund firm Elliott Management plans to close its Tokyo office, its last outpost in Asia, and shift responsibility for investments in the region to London. The company is an active investor in Japan, where it has acquired stakes in SoftBank and Toshiba.

5. Saudi Aramco is now the most valuable company in the world Saudi Aramco overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable company after rising oil prices pushed the crude exporter’s share price to record highs amid a broad sell-off in tech stocks weighed in on the iPhone maker.

  • Learn more about the companies: Telecoms group Vodafone is in talks to combine its UK operations with Three UK, the mobile operator owned by Hong Kong infrastructure conglomerate CK Hutchison.

Line chart of market value in billions of dollars showing Saudi Aramco overtaking Apple

Summary of coronavirus news

  • China dismissed the WHO’s rare criticism of its strict zero-Covid policy, saying it was “irresponsible” to question its reliance on lockdowns.

  • The FT view: China’s Xi Jinping should recognize that his rigidity is hurting his people and his economy. It needs to adopt a more flexible approach.

  • New Zealand will reopen its borders two months earlier than planned, ending more than two years of severe entry restrictions.

  • Toyota warned that its profits could fall by a fifth this year due to rising energy costs and a doubling in commodity prices following a supply disruption.

  • Lead your team back to the office as “manager”. The latest Working It newsletter details advice on how to craft the best return-to-work policy.

The day ahead

Economic data OPEC publishes its monthly report on the oil market. Last week, the cartel agreed to a modest increase in crude production. UK releases first quarter gross domestic product estimate and monthly jobs report, and US releases April producer price index after consumer prices remained close to a four-decade high at 8.3%. India’s April CPI is out.

business profits Foxconn’s first-quarter results will give an indication of the damage to the technology supply chain and the impact of lockdowns in China. Other reporting companies include Aegon, Allianz, Bouygues, BT, Commerzbank, Hargreaves Lansdown, Nissan, RWE, Siemens and SoftBank, while Zurich Insurance has an update.

Meetings The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee welcomes Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto for a debate on European security challenges in light of the war in Ukraine.

Events WHO is hosting a webinar on the tobacco industry’s ‘destructive practices’ and ‘greenwashing tactics’. The European Gas Regulatory Forum, also known as the Madrid Forum, meets for its second and final day on the development and decarbonisation of the EU gas market.

Join us in person or online at FT Business of Luxury Summit May 18-20 to hear from luxury leaders like British Vogue, Valentino, Zegna and YSL.

What else we read

The tycoon, the casino and the heist that rocked Mayfair In the summer of 2017, a man pulled off the first central London casino burglary in decades. It was clear to staff that the incident at the Park Lane Club was not a random burglary. Maybe the crime had something to do with their boss. Or, maybe, it was an inside job.

New York regenerates even as it unravels The mass shooting in the New York City subway last month was the terrifying culmination of a broken down system that had become a haven for the homeless and those with untreated mental illness. Joshua Chaffin argues that he also captured the modern reality of the city: a shrinking and rejuvenating metropolis.

The BoE should be clear when it kicks us Last week, the Bank of England raised interest rates to the highest level in 13 years, even as households face the biggest squeeze in the cost of living in decades. There’s no doubt, writes Chris Giles: the BoE is kicking us all because it thinks it’s the right thing to do.

“New management, same story” at Peloton Tuesday’s results left analysts asking the connected fitness company some old questions: Is Peloton’s long-term vision realistic and is it wise to pursue a mass-market strategy when it’s been building its brand? on the fanatical loyalty of a wealthy but much smaller group of customers?

FT best business books of May Addressing social class at work and navigating politics to get things done, plus a guide to ‘upper management effectiveness’ – our Work & Careers team reviews this month’s top headlines.

Try that

These electric chopsticks reduce your salt intake. Not really. The Japanese consume about twice the recommended amount of salt. A new gadget claims to help.

The Japanese gadget of electric chopsticks

There are four strength settings on the wands and you can feel the electric current on each of them, writes Leo Lewis © Issei Kato/Reuters

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