Turkish Regulator Lifts Lira Trading Ban with UBS, Citi, BNP

The three banks have now fulfilled their obligations in a reasonable time frame - BDDK

Turkey’s BDDK bank regulator has lifted a trading ban imposed last week on UBS, Citigroup, and BNP Paribas because they have fulfilled foreign exchange obligations promptly, according to people with direct knowledge of matter.

They said that the three foreign banks – which were hit with the ban on Thursday when the Turkish lira fell to a record low – have now fulfilled their obligations in a reasonable time frame.

A spokesperson for the banking regulator confirmed that the ban had been reversed.

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A BDDK investigation into UBS AG, Citigroup and BNP Paribas continued but further details are not known, according to the sources.

The ban was one of a few protective measures adopted by the government on Thursday when the lira tumbled intraday to 7.269 versus the dollar, its weakest ever.

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Legal actions were also launched against London-based financial institutions, a state news agency revealed last week and regulators were given more authority to prosecute market manipulation.

The BDDK said at the time the three banks did not fulfil lira liabilities in due time, and the ban covered units of the trio in other countries.

Protecting foreign investors

The ban risked collateral damage to both foreign institutional investors and local businesses clearing lira transactions through these banks, market sources said.

In 2019, during a sharp slide in the lira, Turkey directed state banks to raise borrowing costs and limit the ability of foreigners to bet against the currency.

Because the country runs a current-account deficit, importing far more than it exports, Turkey relies on foreign money to keep the economy afloat.

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