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Turkey’s annual inflation rises to 47.83 percent in July

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Turkey’s annual inflation climbed in July to 47.83 percent, up sharply from 38.2 percent, official data showed on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported.

In line with expectations, the new figure comes a week after the central bank more than doubled its year-end forecast to 58 percent from 22.3 percent after years of doubts from independent economists about the official rate.

A separate study released by independent economists from the Inflation Research Group  (ENAG) who question the official data put the July figure at 122.88 percent, up from 108.6 percent in June.

The official rate had been steadily dropping since reaching a more than two-decade high of 85 percent in October last year. The central bank and economists have forecast an upward trend from July.

At her debut press conference last week, new central bank governor Hafize Gaye Erkan said inflation would rise “temporarily” due to the rising exchange rate of the lira as well as fiscal measures.

Under the former Goldman Sachs and First Republic Bank executive, the central bank twice hiked its interest rates from 8.5 percent to 15 percent.

‘New policy’

“It’s clear that interest rate hikes are just one part of the new policy shift underway in Turkey at the moment and that monetary tightening further ahead will be gradual,” Liam Peach, senior emerging markets economist at London-based Capital Economics, said in a policy note.

“We think a rise in the policy rate to 27.50 percent or so by year-end is needed to sustain investor confidence,” he suggested.

Economists welcomed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s turn to more traditional economics even though he still believes that high interests rates contribute to — rather than cure — growing consumer prices.

He began pushing the central bank to slash borrowing rates at all costs in 2021, setting off the worst inflationary spiral of his rule.

But Erdoğan said after being re-elected he would allow his team economic team which includes Erkan and market-friendly Mehmet Şimşek as finance minister, to take steps to fix the country’s troubles.

“The new team are impressive and can design a route out of crisis,” BlueBay Asset Management economist Timothy Ash said.

“We are seeing policy adjustment,” he said, adding that would eventually help the inflation.

Bartosz Sawicki, market analyst at Conotoxia fintech, however, said that given severe and deeply rooted internal and external imbalances, the post-election policy mix would likely fail to re-anchor inflation expectations and spur significant foreign capital inflows.

“Rising inflation combined with President Tayyip Erdogan’s impatience and disregard for orthodox policies will leave the lira vulnerable,” according to the economist.

The lira was being traded 26.9 against the dollar on Thursday morning. It lost around 30 percent of its value since late May.

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