Turkish Government’s Swift Response Boosts Stock Market Following Devastating Earthquake

Turkey’s stock market soared Wednesday on the first day of trading after a suspension triggered by a devastating earthquake.

Shares on Istanbul’s stock exchange rose 9.8% by mid-afternoon. On Tuesday, authorities intervened to boost stock buying: The government announced measures to encourage companies to buy back their shares and ordered pension funds to increase their allocation of stocks, according to a Reuters report.

Reuters said authorities had cut a tax on share buyback programs from 15% to zero, and relaxed approval requirements for companies to buy back their stock. Pension funds have also been instructed to increase the mandatory allocation of stocks from 10% to 30% in the government-sponsored part of their plans, according to Reuters.

On Monday last week, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked parts of southern Turkey and northern Syria, claiming more than 41,200 lives so far. It is the strongest to hit Turkey since 1939, when an earthquake of the same magnitude killed 30,000 people, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Two days later, trading on Istanbul’s stock exchange was halted after the main index dropped 7% in early dealing, according to Turkey’s Central Securities Depository.

The suspension came after the exchange attempted to restore calm by issuing two circuit breakers — a temporary stop in trading to stem panic-selling.