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Authorities in Turkey probe warnings of medicine shortages after lira crash

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Turkish authorities are probing discrepancies between records and actual supplies of some medicines, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, after consumers, pharmacies and industry heads warned of disruptions to supplies due to a currency crash.
The ministry said discrepancies had been detected at 54 warehouses and 261 pharmacies, and investigations had begun.
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It “took action on allegations that access to some critical drugs became more difficult due to rising foreign exchange rates,” the ministry said.
The lira plunged some 25 percent in November, its fifth-worst month ever, after President Tayyip Erdogan defended aggressive interest rate cuts despite widespread criticism and inflation of near 20 percent.
As the lira hit a series of record lows, Turks told Reuters they were struggling to find some medications while sector leaders said stocks were shrinking and warned of supply disruptions due to import price spikes.
Nezih Barut, the chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Turkey, said in an interview that some pharmaceuticals are not on the market due to the currency depreciation, which he called “unsustainable” for importers and manufacturers.
The Turkish Pharmacists Association said earlier this month there was already trouble accessing 645 medicines.
Turkey’s pharmaceutical market was worth 48 billion lira ($4 billion) last year with 24 billion lira in imports.

Read more: Turkey’s Erdogan stays firm on interest rates, lira weakens four percent

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Iran gas flow to Turkey cut by technical failure: Officials

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Iran has cut gas flows to Turkey due to a technical failure, prompting Turkish authorities to order gas-fueled power plants to cut gas use by 40 percent, sector officials said on Thursday.

Turkish natural gas distributors were also asked to reduce supply to 60 percent for large consumers except for that used for heating, the Turkish sector officials said, adding that schools and hospitals will be exempted.

Iran notified Turkey of 10-day cut to natural gas flows, but talks are ongoing to start flows earlier, the officials added.

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Turkey, UAE sign FX swap deal worth $5 billion

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Turkey signed a $4.9 billion currency swap agreement with the UAE, boosting dwindling foreign-exchange reserves depleted by the country’s financial turmoil.

The three-year deal reflects a warming of ties that began last year after a decade of frosty relations that rippled across the Middle East. Turkey has already signed swap deals with Qatar, South Korea and China to prop up its reserves, which shrank more than 10 percent in December as the central bank intervened in the foreign-exchange market to stem the lira’s decline.

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Reserves totalled just under $110 billion on Jan. 7, according to official data, but fall significantly below zero when the central bank’s liabilities from swap deals with foreign counterparts or commercial lenders are stripped out. The lira, meanwhile, still lost about 40 percent of its value last month alone, when investors fled lira assets in search of protection against a worsening inflation outlook.

The run on the currency began after the central bank started a cycle of interest rate cuts in September at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s demand. Erdogan argues that lower borrowing costs will curb price pressures, contrary to what most central bankers think.

The size of Wednesday’s swap agreement in local currencies is 18 billion UAE dirhams or 64 billion Turkish liras, according to separate statements by both monetary authorities.

The deal followed a visit by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to Turkey in November.

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UAE energy minister looks ahead to supply 400,000 bpd, ‘not worried’ about short term

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UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Wednesday that he was “not worried about the short term” when asked about predictions that oil prices will rise above $100.

The price of benchmark Brent crude gained 0.33 percent on Wednesday to $87.76 per barrel, as oil rose for a fourth day as an outage on a pipeline from Iraq to Turkey added to worries about an already tight supply outlook.

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“I will never give a prediction on a price. We will continue to do our work of increasing the supply of 400,000 bpd,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

“I am not worried about the short term,” he said. “I am worried about the long term if there are voices saying we should not invest.”

Analysts are forecasting tight oil supply in 2022, driven in part by demand holding up much better than expected as the highly contagious omicron coronavirus variant spreads, with some predicting the return of $100 oil.

Mazrouei said all producing countries and international oil companies should invest in hydrocarbons to ensure a smooth energy transition.

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UAE’s ADNOC works to ensure reliable supply after fuel depot incident

Key Iraq oil pipeline to restart after explosion in Turkey

Global oil demand expected to remain ‘robust’ despite COVID omicron variant: OPEC

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