Turkish inflation unexpectedly slows to 19.5% in April
May 04 2019 01:10 AM
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A visitor takes a photograph of the Bosphorus Strait waterway in the Eminonu district of Istanbul (file). Month-on-month consumer price inflation in Turkey was a less-than-expected 1.69%, driven by a 6.77% leap in beverages and tobacco prices in the wake of nationwide local elections at the end of March.

Reuters Ankara/Istanbul

Turkey’s inflation rate unexpectedly slowed somewhat to 19.50% in April from a year earlier, helped by more moderate rises in transportation and clothing, even while overall prices remained lofty in the midst of a recession.
Month-on-month consumer price inflation was a less-than-expected 1.69%, driven by a 6.77% leap in beverages and tobacco prices in the wake of nationwide local elections at the end of March.
The Turkish lira, which has tumbled in recent weeks, firmed slightly to 5.9685 after the year-on-year data showed a slight decline from 19.71% in March.
A Reuters poll had predicted annual inflation would rise 20.33% and monthly inflation would climb 2.4%.
A near 30% slide in the lira against the dollar last year pushed inflation to a 15-year high of more than 25% in October.
After a few months of declines, it has stalled this year at high levels and remains a major concern among investors.
A near 32% jump in food and non-alcoholic drinks prices kept overall annual inflation high last month.
The better than expected readings reflected “very depressed domestic demand conditions, with little pricing pressure from corporates,” said Timothy Ash of Bluebay Asset Management.
“Some will also focus on the continued maintenance of price controls and question how accurate or realistic these inflation numbers are now,” he added.
Turkey’s central bank left its inflation forecasts unchanged at 14.6% for end-2019 in its quarterly inflation report this week.
Last week, the bank left its key interest rate unchanged at 24%.
Some brands of cigarette and tobacco products hiked prices around 20% in April while other brands left them unchanged after the elections.
Separately, the producer price index rose 2.98% month-on-month in April for an annual rise of 30.12%, the data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed.



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