Forex held by Turkish locals falls to $221.2bln

Data also showed on Thursday that foreign investors sold $140.4mln worth of Turkish government bonds in the week to April 2

  

ISTANBUL- Turkish locals' forex and precious metals holdings dropped to $221.20 billion in the week to April 2 from $223.67 billion a week earlier, according to central bank data on Thursday.

The holdings have eased from a record high of $236.11 billion in January. When adjusted for the parity effect, the data showed the hard currency holdings dropped by $2.02 billion in the week to April 2.

Turks flocked to hard currencies in recent years as a hedge against double-digit inflation and an ailing lira, which lost 20% of its value against the dollar last year. The central bank is watching keenly for a reversal in this dollarisation trend before it starts rebuilding its depleted FX reserves.

Data also showed on Thursday that foreign investors sold $140.4 million worth of Turkish government bonds in the week to April 2, as well as $364.4 million worth of stocks.

Separately, the central bank's gross forex reserves fell to $48.09 billion in the same period from $50.89 billion a week earlier.

(Reporting by Daren Butler, Canan Sevgili and Oben Mumcuoglu Editing by Ezgi Erkoyun) ((daren.butler@tr.com; +90-212-350 7053; Reuters Messaging: daren.butler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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