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Saudi Arabia in talks to deposit $5 billion in Turkish central bank

Saudi Arabia is discussing a deal to inject $5 billion into Turkey’s central bank. The move strengthens Ankara’s foreign exchange reserves and signals further rapprochement between regional rivals four years after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

A Saudi finance ministry official said Riyadh and Ankara were in talks about a possible deposit, but gave no further details. An official from the Turkish Ministry of Finance confirmed that the two sides were in talks about the deposit. “Negotiations are not finished yet, but they are in the final stages,” he said.

The deal with Saudi Arabia will allow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to restore ties with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and help the Turkish leader seek new sources of foreign funding ahead of his next re-election bid. It will conclude months of efforts to expand commercial ties with the Kingdom because of the year.

turkey Between March and September, it spent at least $17.9 billion defending the lira, according to Goldman Sachs. The country’s attempt to support the currency comes as the central bank cut interest rates this year despite blistering inflation.

New funding from Riyadh could buy Ankara more financial relief at a time it also faces severe pressure from high energy prices.

Ankara has already signed multi-billion dollar currency swap agreements in recent years with countries such as Qatar, China, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

Analysts estimate that funds from Russia’s state-run nuclear power agency were transferred to Turkey this year to build a nuclear power plant, boosting Turkey’s foreign exchange reserves by $5 billion to $10 billion.

Turkey’s net foreign assets, a key measure of foreign reserves, reached $11.5 billion on Monday from a recent high of $14.1 billion on Nov. 16, according to calculations by the Financial Times. The figure is underpinned by $47.6 billion in short-term borrowings from Turkish banks and his $23.6 billion from other central banks, according to Goldman’s estimates based on Nov. 16 data.

The Saudi deal marks an improvement in relations after Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Erdo─čan condemned the killing by “the highest levels” of the Saudi government, and Turkish officials leaked gruesome details of the killing to the press, apparently to embarrass the crown prince.

But a prolonged currency crisis has forced Erdogan to mend ties with Riyadh and other Middle East powers, and he is at odds with Israel, Egypt and the UAE over Turkey’s hardline foreign policy.

In April, an Istanbul court suspended the trial in absentia of 26 Saudis in connection with Khashoggi’s murder. Erdogan then traveled to Riyadh before hosting Crown Prince Mohammed in Ankara, which the Turkish president described as a “new era” in relations with the Gulf states. Saudi Arabia, in turn, began easing the unofficial embargo on Turkish exports it established after Khashoggi’s murder.

The two men last saw each other on Sunday while attending the World Cup opener in Qatar. Erdogan also shook hands with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for the first time since he overthrew his Islamist predecessor, whom he embraced, Muhammad Morsi. As an ideological ally in 2013.

Erdogan has negotiated with former enemies over his unorthodox economic policy of keeping interest rates low despite 85% inflation, after Western investors fled Turkey’s capital markets. It is aimed at attracting foreign investment.

https://www.ft.com/content/ae8531c7-6a13-49a5-b24d-d9b05614f4bb Saudi Arabia in talks to deposit $5 billion in Turkish central bank

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