Treasury sets eye on 2,200 tons of gold ‘kept under mattresses’
ANKARAThe Turkish Treasury will issue two types of bonds to attract 2,200 tons of gold stashed under mattresses into the economy, which has a market value of around 300 billion Turkish Liras, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek has said.
“The first issuance of gold bonds and the gold-based rent certificates will begin between Oct. 2 and 6 in an attempt to benefit the economy with the under-the-mattress gold of citizens, which is estimated to be almost 2,200 tons in total,” Şimşek said in a statement on Sept. 17.
The deputy prime minister said on Sept. 18 during an interview broadcast on Bloomberg HT and Habertürk that the issuance of gold price-linked bonds was not related to the Treasury’s need for debt.
“The Treasury has no borrowing problem. We will dare this cost for the economy to run faster, to increase savings and solve resource problems as well as bring out the under-the-mattress savings into the economy,” he said.
Experts at Turkey’s state-run Ziraat Bank will mark the real value of the gold savings of citizens and access equivalent bonds in return, he said.
Once the due date of the gold expires, the assets will be returned to the citizens, who would benefit from the remainder of the change in the price of gold, he added.
The payment will be made either in one kilogram of gold bullions or quarter gold coins pressed by the General Directorate of Mint.
“We know very well that there is a gold stock in Turkey which stands even at around $300 billion, according to some estimates, but this gold remains idle,” he said.
This would also cut the Turkish banking systems’ foreign dependency and improve productivity, he said.
The Treasury will deposit bonds one week after a book building at Ziraat Bank, he added.
“Rent certificates based on gold,” a financial tool similar to sukuk bonds, aims to lure citizens who are against benefiting from interest rates, Şimşek said on Sept. 17.
Interest rates are forbidden in Islamic banking because they are prohibited by the religion.
The bond sale will first start in Istanbul but eventually will be practiced in every province of Turkey, declared Şimşek.
“These relevant two instruments will have positive effects on the economy in the long term. They will decrease our external dependence with regard to our source need, which is necessary in the growth of the economy,” he said.
“Their investments are also going to turn into savings under the guarantee of the government,” said Şimşek.
“This procedure is similar to the situation when our people sell their gold, which they keep in their houses, when the need arises and turn it into cash. On top of it, they can even receive the gold return which has accrued until the date they sell it, in terms of the lira,” he said.
Reaching new investors will increase the diversity in the financial channels and will affect the domestic source distribution positively, said Şimşek.