Euro nudges higher as U.S.-China trade talks calm market nerves

A Turkish court in western Turkey's Izmir province on Friday rejected a third appeal for terror-linked US pastor Andrew Craig Brunson's release.

President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday night to threaten new sanctions as punishment for Turkey's detainment of a "great patriot hostage".

He asked Mnuchin for an update on sanctions punishing Turkey for pastor Andrew Brunson's detention.

Turkey and the USA are now experiencing rocky relations after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers for not releasing Brunson.

The US has already imposed sanctions on two Turkish government ministers and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium imports.

Trump's comments came after a court in Turkey's western Izmir province rejected an appeal to release Brunson from house arrest, saying evidence was still being collected and the pastor posed a potential flight risk, according to a copy of the court ruling seen by Reuters.

The dollar stepped back from 13-1/2-month highs against other major currencies on Friday as talks next week between China and the United States offered some hope that the world's two largest economies will find a way to head off a full-blown trade war.

Relations between Turkey and the U.S. are at a low point over the detention of Andrew Brunson, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government accuses of being involved in an attempted coup in 2016.

If convicted, the American pastor faces up to 35 years in jail.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said Thursday the United States is prepared to put additional sanctions in place against Turkey if Brunson isn't released.

Trump added: "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!"

"The news [of the China-US trade talks] triggered short-covering but I think fundamentally it is of limited significance", said Yasuo Sakuma, chief investment officer at Libra Investments.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier criticised Turkey's move to impose tariffs on some U.S. goods as "regrettable and a step in the wrong direction". It says the case against Atilla, sentenced to 32 months in prison, was politically motivated.

Memories of past emerging market crises, such as the Asian financial turmoil of 1997 and Turkey's 2001 crisis, haunted investors this week and prompted selling across emerging market assets as a whole.

Erdogan has recently held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In a research note to clients, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists noted there were four trading days to go until the S&P 500 bull market became the longest of all-time.

The previous day two Greek soldiers held by Turkey since March for illegally crossing the border were also freed in a move warmly welcomed by Athens.

  • David Armstrong