Reuters

Turkey’s Central Bank provided more stimulus for the financial sector and economy on March 31, saying it would ramp up government debt buying and offer new pools of cheap funding to stem the fallout from a growing coronavirus outbreak.

As coronavirus cases have surged in Turkey, the government has so far offered $15 billion in fiscal support and the central bank has already cut its key interest rate by 100 basis points, loosened reserve requirements and offered cheap lira liquidity.

Under the latest emergency measures, primary dealers will for a temporary period sell the Central Bank debt they purchased from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, which will be under pressure as jobs disappear and the economy contracts.

The Central Bank also extended 60 billion lira ($9 billion) worth of rediscount credits and added more lending options well below its 9.75% policy rate. It said the moves would provide much needed credit to companies and liquidity to government debt markets.

The bank said other outright asset purchases “can be carried out in a front-loaded manner and these limits may be revised depending on the market conditions.”

The actions aimed to “enhance the effectiveness of the monetary transmission mechanism via increasing the market depth, enabling sound asset pricing and providing banks with flexibility,” it said.

The bank also said it would hold swap auctions with six- month maturities for lira against dollars, euros or gold at an interest rate 125 basis points lower than the policy rate.

For FX operations, lenders can now use mortgage- and asset-backed securities as collateral, the bank said.

Kunjal Gala, co-portfolio manager at Federated Hermes, said the moves were in line with those of other countries aiming to support their economies going into a global recession.

“That’s how you prevent the public health issue becoming a credit issue. If it becomes a full-blown credit crisis then that is a different world we are in, and that is what central banks are trying to prevent,” Gala said. ($1 = 6.5642 liras)