(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s central bank posted an extraordinary daily profit of around $10 billion on the final day of 2021, sparking questions on what caused this overnight boon that will trickle down to the nation’s Treasury.
The monetary authority had penciled in an annual loss of around 70 billion liras ($5.2 billion) on Dec. 30 but ended the year with 60 billion liras of profit, an unprecedented change of fortunes in a single day, according to its daily balance sheet. In February, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance -- as the central bank’s biggest stakeholder -- will begin collecting much of that sum as dividends.
The abrupt turnaround comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled measures meant to compensate lira investors for any losses. Erdogan’s pressure on the central bank to lower its benchmark interest rates sent the lira plummeting against the dollar last year, while pushing inflation past 36%.
The bank declined to comment on the extraordinary move on its balance sheet, which was first reported on Monday by the bank’s former deputy governor Ibrahim Turhan and ex-banker Kerim Rota, both members of the opposition Future Party. Two officials familiar with the matter said it was in line with independent auditors’ accounting advice, but asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
According to Turhan, a possible explanation for the sizable overnight profit boost could lie in the sale of foreign-exchange reserves to the Treasury. The lira’s depreciation makes foreign reserves more valuable in local currency, but that can’t be logged in the profit column until the reserves are sold, he said.
The same amount of dollars would then have to be bought back to maintain the reserves level, Turhan said.
The Treasury’s borrowing program for the current three-month period showed authorities were already expecting 44 billion liras in external revenue next month.
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