Inflation-hit turks continue to favour gold over crypto

Survey finds gold and property are the main assets of choice

As Turkey’s central bank has pledged to hold its rates for a fifth month in a row, citizens of the inflation-ravaged country continue to favour gold as an inflation hedge. 

And while some crypto advocates argue that Bitcoin is the digital equivalent of gold, cryptocurrencies apparently remain low down the priority list of investments for Turkish people.

That’s according to a study carried out by research firm Areda Survey, which found that 42.9% of Turks see gold as the best investment option open to them. Almost 46% of women and 42.2% of men surveyed stated that they would invest in gold. Among young Turks this figure stood at nearly 50%. 

Property was the second favourite investment, favoured by some as a long-term strategy. 

Only 1.9% of respondents said that they would consider investing in cryptocurrencies. This might come as a surprise to some, given that Bitcoin has risen by 64% against the lira in the past 12 months and by 660% in the past two years. 

Furthermore, according to the World Economic Forum, Turkey ranked first in Europe for popular cryptocurrency adoption and fourth among the 74 global economies questioned for the Statista Global Consumer Survey.  

Thodex

The wariness revealed by the Areda study may reflect a growing awareness of the risks associated with an asset class that has lost $1trn in value since the start of the year. 

Many Turkish people who were initially open to the revolutionary media exchange may also have had their enthusiasm blunted by last year’s scandal involving the cryptocurrency exchange Thodex. 

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The company’s 28-year old CEO, Faruk Fatih Oze, fled Turkey in April 2021, allegedly absconding with about $2bn worth of cryptocurrency. More than 391,000 users were said to have been defrauded. 

Although an Interpol ‘red notice’ was issued for his arrest, Oze has still not been found. 

In the same month, the country’s central bank, CBRT, banned the use of cryptocurrencies for payments.

Inflation climb

Inflation in Turkey surged to a two-year high in April, rising by 69.97% year-on-year according to CBRT. The Turkish lira has lost 18% of its value against the US dollar since the start of 2022 and 58% of its value in the past two years.

Last Thursday, the central bank decided to keep its main interest rate unchanged for a fifth consecutive month despite spiralling inflation.

It argued that inflation was driven by geopolitical turmoil, such as the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruption in China, in addition to the “temporary effects of pricing formations”.

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