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Aug 21 2018

Turkey has only 75 days’ worth of foreign reserves left

Turkey now has only 75 days’ worth of foreign reserves left for importing goods, according to data from the Central Bank.

The lira, badly hit in the foreign exchange markets after a diplomatic conflict with the United States, has fallen to 6.05 against the dollar, down from 3.79 at the start of the year.

Central Bank interventions, now ongoing for years in attempts to limit the decline of the lira, have reduced that institution’s foreign currency reserves.

The closing of almost all foreign currency options to the Turkish private sector, including the treasury, means that Turkey has only 75 days' worth of reserves should it keep importing goods at the same rate due to its foreign debt obligations.

The Central Bank has only $29 billion of its own money, according to calculations made by Ahval. Beyond that, it holds around another $61 billion worth of foreign exchange and gold on behalf of other entities.

Turkey has built up record foreign debts of $42.5 billion through imports and spends almost $20 billion a month on imports every passing month, meaning that Turkey’s foreign currency reserves would now fail most adequacy tests.

Another problem Turkey has is the ratio of short-term debt to reserves. The so-called Greenspan-Guidotti Rule suggests that a country should hold sufficient reserves to pay one year’s worth of foreign debts, but Turkish Central Bank Data says that Turkey has $119 billion of annual foreign exchange debt, a greater figure than the $90 billion it holds in reserves.