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Turkey’s Inflation Hits 15-Month Peak

Turkey’s inflation Hits 15-Month Peak

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Turkey’s annual inflation rose to a 15-month high at 67.1% in February.
Monthly inflation exceeded forecasts at 4.5%, signalling sustained price pressure.
Despite inflationary pressures, the central bank holds interest rates steady at 45%, opting for a cautious approach ahead of local elections.

Turkey’s economic landscape is undergoing significant shifts, with annual inflation reaching a 15-month high. In February, inflation rose notably to 67.1%, up from January’s 64.9%. This increase, partly fueled by a significant minimum wage hike earlier in the year, marks the fourth consecutive month of rising price growth. Monthly inflation, a key focus for the central bank, also exceeded expectations, reaching 4.5% despite a decrease from January’s 6.7%. This persistent inflationary pressure highlights the challenges facing the country’s monetary policymakers.

Central Bank’s Stance Amid Rising Costs

The central bank’s reaction to the rising inflation has been cautious. After increasing interest rates by a total of 3,650 basis points in eight steps, the bank paused, leaving rates unchanged at 45%. This decision reflects a cautious stance, particularly with local elections on the horizon. The expectation that inflation may peak above 70% in May complicates the situation further. Policymakers are employing a strategy that combines patience and prudence, even as real interest rates dip into negative territory.

Economic Factors and Policy Challenges

Several factors are contributing to the surge in inflation. The central bank’s newly appointed Governor, Fatih Karahan, points to the minimum wage increase as a significant inflationary risk. Additionally, sharp increases in unprocessed food prices and services, including rent and education costs, have pushed the inflation rate beyond expectations. These sectors show strong domestic demand that has yet to adapt to tighter monetary conditions. With the central bank planning to maintain the policy rate into the third quarter, attention turns to alternative tightening tools. This approach is made more complex by loosening fiscal policies ahead of critical local elections, adding another layer of difficulty in controlling inflation.

Turkey’s inflationary path presents a complicated challenge for policymakers. With the central bank taking a wait-and-see approach amid political and economic pressures, navigating the way forward requires careful consideration. The role of fiscal policies, especially in an election year, and the effectiveness of alternative monetary tools will be key in shaping Turkey’s inflation outlook in the upcoming months.

The post Turkey’s Inflation Hits 15-Month Peak appeared first on FinanceBrokerage.

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