Skip to main content

Turkey’s forex market in agony after drastic measures

Many brokerage houses have closed in Turkey since February, when the authorities drastically lowered the leverage ratio for foreign exchange transactions.
A board showing the currency exchange rates of the U.S. dollar and the Euro against Turkish lira is on display at a currency exchange office in Istanbul, Turkey, January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2YFYP
Read in 

Foreign exchange (forex) trading in Turkey, launched officially in 2011, is relatively unfamiliar to Turks, which is why training courses and seminars are being organized for aspiring investors. Eager to make quick money, thousands of neophytes lost big in leveraged transactions on the forex market in recent years as they virtually bet on whether foreign exchange and gold prices would rise or fall. Some lost cars and homes used as starting capital; others lost their entire fortune. As explained in March in Al-Monitor, the main attraction factor here was the leverage ratio, which stood as high as 100:1 until February, meaning that investors were able to trade in sums 100 times larger than what they had deposited. The ratio promised big earnings, but for the unversed investor, it often meant huge losses, and the market came to resemble a casino.

As the outcry grew, victims of the forex fever came together in online platforms and their grievances reached the parliament’s Petition Commission and the government. The Capital Markets Board (SPK) took action Feb. 10, lowering the leverage ratio to 10:1 and setting a minimum deposit of 50,000 Turkish liras (about $14,000).

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.