Turkish millionaires sweep up gold, dollars

Turkey’s millionaires and other investors with big cash reserves added to their holdings of gold and dollars as the lira slumped against foreign currencies last year, Dünya newspaper reported.

Turks, businesses and state organisations with the equivalent of 1 million liras ($190,000) or more in their deposit accounts increased their dollar holdings in 2018 by 144.3 billion liras to 552.5 billion liras, Dünya said, citing data from the Banking Regulation Supervision Agency (BDDK). That was an increase of 35 percent, which exceeded the lira’s losses of 28 percent last year.

Assets held by the 161,800 persons and the other entities in gold-based accounts grew at an even faster pace, expanding by 2.6 billion liras to 5.82 billion liras, the newspaper reported. That equated to a jump of 82 percent.

A currency crisis swept through Turkey’s financial markets last year, causing economic turmoil and reducing the lira’s value by almost half at its peak in August. The currency has since strengthened from a record low of 7.22 per dollar, trading at around 5.27 per dollar on Monday. The lira still, however, trades about 28 percent weaker than it did at the start of 2018.

The amount in lira accounts increased by 41.5 billion liras, or 9.8 percent, to 465.7 billion liras, Dünya said.

The above figures included any interest earned on the savings.