ANKARA: A deposit of $5 billion from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) entered the accounts of the Turkish Central Bank on Monday, bankers said on Tuesday.
The Turkish Central Bank declined comment on the issue.
Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan had announced his country’s intention to make the deposit in December and the SFD said on March 6 it had signed such an agreement.
The Saudi deposit follows joint efforts by Ankara and Riyadh to mend ties that were ruptured after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Ankara already has a total $28 billion currency swap deals with the United Arab Emirates, China, Qatar and South Korea and bankers calculate around $23-24 billion are already in the Turkish central bank’s reserves.
Instead of swap deals, Turkey’s central bank has recently preferred depo accounts, which involves dollars or euros entering the system instead of local currencies.
Azeri SOCAR has a depo account worth 1 billion euros at the Turkish central bank, while another central bank, the name of which has not been disclosed, has an account worth almost $2 billion. With the latest deal the depo amount has risen to some $8 billion.
Turkey’s net foreign exchange reserves have rebounded from just over $6 billion last summer, when they were at their lowest in at least 20 years.
However, they have lost some $10 billion since a massive earthquake hit southern Turkey in early February, killing more than 54,000 people and leaving millions homeless.
Turkey’s forex reserves dropped sharply in recent years due to market interventions and in the wake of a currency crisis in December 2021. The lira lost some 30% of its value against the dollar last year and 44% in 2021.—Reuters