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ISTANBUL: The Turkish central bank’s net international reserves leapt $5.8 billion last week to $16.33 billion as of Feb. 4, data showed on Thursday, having tumbled to a 20-year low last month.

The exchange rate used by Reuters on Thursday was 13.5543. Bankers said earlier this week the rise in reserves could be due in part to the central bank’s $4.7-billion swap accord with the United Arab Emirates.

The rise was also seen reflecting a requirement that exporters sell 25% of their forex revenues to the central bank. Forex reserves have dropped sharply in recent years, most recently due to billions of dollars the bank sold in market interventions to stem a currency crisis in December.

Bankers say the recent drop-off - which saw reserves fall last month to $7.55 billion, the lowest since 2002 - points to some $20 billion spent to support the lira since December, more than formally reported.

Net international reserves had risen since April before coming under pressure again when a currency crisis in December prompted the bank to intervene to address “unhealthy” prices.

The lira still ended the year down 44% against the dollar, a slump which sent inflation soaring to nearly 49% in January, the highest under President Tayyip Erdogan’s rule.

In 2019-2020, the net reserves plunged as the central bank sold off $128 billion via state banks to stabilize the lira, a programme that emerged as a focus of what Turkey’s opposition calls government mismanagement.

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