Turkey’s battered lira slides further, hopes rise for $9 billion IMF funding

ISTANBUL – Turkey’s battered lira slid further yesterday as a treasury debt redemption provided lira liquidity that moved into dollars, bankers said. But news that Ankara and the International Monetary Fund appeared nearer agreement on 2002 budget targets sent shares up 5 percent as hopes rose that Turkey would secure about $9 billion in additional funding that the economy will need next year. An IMF delegation is due to arrive in Turkey this week to continue talks on next year’s budget and possible loans. Traders said cash inflow from yesterday’s treasury redemption of 916.2 trillion lira to the market probably moved into dollars, pulling the lira lower. Money left in the market from the redemption is expected to move into forex. Banks are generally buying for that, a forex trader for a private bank said. The lira closed the day at 1,640,000 to the dollar on the central bank-brokered forex market, lower than Tuesday’s 1,627,000 lira. Best bids and offers for the dollar on the interbank market stood at 1,638,000/1,642,000 lira. The treasury on Tuesday sold a net 445.3 trillion lira in a reissue of paper maturing on January 9, 2002 and those bills were the most active yesterday morning. Yields on that paper fell to 89.38 percent from a maximum yield in Tuesday’s auction of 92.49 percent, while yields on the benchmark paper maturing on March 6, 2002 fell to 92.90 percent from Tuesday’s 94.99 percent. Banks are selling to customers. Banks that couldn’t buy in yesterday’s auction are buying on the secondary market to match client demand, said one banker. Turkey needs new international lending for 2002 to help it handle its domestic debt burden. Finance Minister Sumer Oral told Reuters the country would target an end-2002 primary budget surplus of 6.5 percent of GDP, meeting what officials say is a key IMF demand before it will agree to new lending. The budget is due for debate in Parliament in the middle of October ahead of an IMF deal expected before month’s end. The main share index in Istanbul closed 5.38 percent higher at 8,048.28 points, with brokers saying they were watching the budget progress very closely.

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