Reuters/Nevzat Devranoglu:  Central Bank burning reserves to keep lira stable -bankers

Turkey’s central bank used $7 billion of reserves in the last two weeks to help steady the lira in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes, and reserves could remain under pressure in the weeks ahead, bankers said.

The worst disaster in Turkey’s modern history killed tens of thousands and levelled areas of the south, temporarily closing the stock exchange, reports Nevzat Devranoglu of Reuters-Turkey.


But in foreign exchange (FX) markets, the lira has shed only 0.2% versus the U.S. dollar since the initial quake on Feb. 6.


Central bank data show FX reserves dropped by $4 billion to $125.6 billion in the week after the quake. Calculations from three bankers show they dropped another $3 billion last week.

The central bank declined to comment.

The bank has balanced the FX market by “channelling its new forex revenues, especially from exports, to the market for a long time now,” said a trading desk manager at one bank.

“This (tapping reserves) cannot be sustained for a long time since the reserve adequacy is low. So I expect the continuation of the steps to reduce the foreign exchange demand,” the banker added.


Dipping into reserves has been a regular feature of the government’s unorthodox economic policy in recent years, especially since a historic currency collapse in late 2021.


The central bank replenishes its reserves in several ways, including requiring exporters to sell a portion of revenues to it, and urging companies and individuals to convert hard currencies for FX-protected lira deposits, or KKM.

Authorities took several steps to cool demand for FX after the earthquake, such as urging banks to conduct derivative transactions on Borsa Istanbul, and widening the spread in FX and gold trades.


The bankers said the central bank would remain under pressure to tap reserves and keep the lira stable in the short term. Flows of international aid will help ease the pressure, they said, requesting anonymity due to sensitivity around discussing state policy.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.