Turkey hopes stashed gold can boost the economy under COVID-19

Turkish banks and gold refineries have helped put over 100 tonnes of gold hidden in people's homes back into the country's financial system during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, International Business Times said.

A leading gold refinery launched a project in collaboration with 12 major commercial Turkish banks around a decade ago to encourage Turkish people to stop stashing gold at home, IBT said.

"We are aware of the fact that there is around 3,000 to 5,000 tons of gold saved under mattresses, which amounts to an informal economy with a size of $200 to $300 billion," IBT quoted Ayşe Esen, CEO of the Istanbul Gold Refinery, as saying.

"Putting this amount of gold back into circulation could bring solutions to many of the country's financial problems," Esen added.

Esen said that the Istanbul Gold Refinery would begin working on several new projects with local banks and the Turkish government to push individuals to put their gold savings in banks once the economy emerges from the pandemic.

Buying gold coins and jewellery has always been a favourite method of saving for hard times for Turkish people, starting with gifts of gold for births, weddings and other celebrations.

The gold is kept at home instead of in banks as few trust savings accounts over their stash of gold bracelets, which IBT said results in Turkey having one of the lowest private savings rates among major economies.