Turkish inflation spinning out of control

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Consumer price growth has accelerated at the fastest rate this year

Inflation in Türkiye spiked to 58.9% in annual terms in August, its fastest pace this year, from around 48% in July, according to data released on Monday by the Turkish Statistical Institute.

The month-on-month increase was 9.1%, mostly driven by rising energy and food costs. Transport costs jumped 16.6% month-on-month, while food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose by 8.5% from July and 72.9% from last year. The core index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices and is seen as a bellwether for future inflation developments, posted an annual gain of 64.9%.

Analysts attribute the spike in inflation to the steep fall in the lira exchange rate and recent tax increases. The Turkish currency has lost about 30% of its value so far this year.

After years of interest rate cuts, which helped trigger a currency crisis in late 2021 and sent inflation to a 24-year peak of 85.51% last October, the Turkish central bank turned back toward more traditional economic policies earlier this year. It has so far hiked the key rate three times to the current 25%, although experts say that more tightening is in order, despite the slight gains in the lira since the latest rate increase in August.

The recent lira appreciation is unlikely to trigger price discounts, in our view, but it may contribute to a slower pace of price gains through the rest of the year. We maintain our call for a year-end inflation rate of 57%, but recognize risks have emerged on both sides,” economist Selva Bahar Baziki told Bloomberg, commenting on the situation.

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Türkiye announces massive interest rate hike

Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek has warned that the battle against inflation may be a long one.

We are absolutely determined to fight inflation. We know that the fight against inflation will take some time. We are in the transition period. We will do whatever is necessary – monetary tightening, credit policy and income policies – to bring inflation under control and then lower it,” Simsek wrote on his X (formerly Twitter) account after the data release.

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