Swissquote to suspend Turkish lira quotes ahead of elections

Swissquote to suspend Turkish lira quotes ahead of elections
/ bne IntelliNews
By Akin Nazli in Belgrade May 2, 2023

Swissquote (Zurich/SQN), an online trading services provider, has asked its customers to close all their Turkish lira positions by May 5 in order to minimise risks from market fluctuations, BloombergHT reported on May 2.

The company said it would close open lira positions itself in the event of some customers failing to close their positions by the deadline. It would, meanwhile, not provide lira parities up to May 15.

Turkey is scheduled to hold hotly contested presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14.

Lately, the Turkish lira’s (TRY's) one-month implied volatility has boomed ahead of the crucial polls. Based on the election outcome or developments during the campaigning, the lira could register sharp fluctuations in both directions.

The political uncertainties in Turkey have lately reached chaotic levels even by the country's usual standards.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been struggling with health problems. Nevertheless, the procedural electoral wheels continue to turn. If Erdogan does not like what he sees on the horizon, delaying the elections still remains the main alternative option for him.

bne IntelliNews' analysis is that in the first round of presidential voting in less than two weeks’ time, Erdogan will not attract a vote share higher than a figure in the 30%s, while main rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu will be in the 60%s, enough to give him an outright victory that means a second-round head-to-head contest of the two top-placed candidates would not be required.

One known unknown is whether Erdogan has the strength to move on the nuclear option, namely the declaration of another election victory that would as per usual remain beyond verification. Turkey would need to be subjected to some shocking, disorientating events for this option to become viable.

As his third and final option, strongman Erdogan has the chance to provide Turkey with a godsend. He could head abroad to receive medical attention. It would be the perfect face-saver. He could argue that he would of course have triumphed in the elections if he had not needed treatment for his urgent health problems.

Armed incidentsin the form of knife assaults and guns being fired around opposition parties' headquarters and election campaign locations, continue. In the next two weeks, nothing in Turkey should surprise the observer.

The USD/TRY has, meanwhile, been on another record-breaking spree. The latest record for the embattled lira in the interbank market, set on April 27, stands at TRY 19.72.

From the beginning of March, the pair shot through the barriers in the 18.80s. It is now mainly trading in the 19.40s, with some spikes.

The reference to the “interbank market” is a must at the moment as the market rates are at around 21 with one to two lira spreads between buying and selling offers.

On May 2, Hakan Guldag, editor-in-chief of local business daily Ekonomi, said that everyone from citizens to businessmen have been complaining about a lack of hard currency in Turkey experienced at the moment.

Amid the booming lira supply and hard currency outflows via record trade deficits, officials only keep the lira from entering into a nosedive by coercing bankers into blocking and gumming up domestic FX demand. Also supportive are unidentified inflows and support from “friendly countries”.

Another lira calamity would come as no surprise. It could happen at any time.

The turbulence-free mood on the global markets remains intact. Turkey’s five-year credit default swaps (CDS) remain below the 600-level, while the yield on the Turkish government’s 10-year eurobonds remains around the 9%-level.