Turkey’s official annual inflation hits 80.2 percent in August

The government-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) has reported an annual inflation rate of 80.21 percent in August, the highest since 1998, whereas the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 181.37 percent.

Duvar English - Reuters

Turkey's annual inflation climbed to a fresh 24-year high of 80.21% in August, a bit below expectations according to official data, after the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates and stoked a cost-of-living crisis.

According to unofficial data from the ENAG Inflation Research Group, an independent institution set up in 2020 to track the country’s inflation, Turkey’s annual consumer price inflation rate was 176.01% in July, far higher than official claims. 

Inflation has raced higher since last autumn, when the lira slumped after the central bank gradually cut its policy rate by 500 basis points to 14% in an unorthodox easing cycle sought by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Despite expectations that inflation is not expected to fall in the next few months, the bank lowered its key rate by another 100 basis points last month to 13%, citing indications of an economic slowdown.

Month-on-month, consumer prices rose 1.46%, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) said, compared to a Reuters poll forecast of 2.0%. Annually, consumer price inflation was forecast to be 81.22%.

That was the highest reading since August 1998, when annual inflation was 81.4% and Turkey was battling to end a decade of chronically high inflation.

The highest annual inflation was seen in transportation, where prices rose 116.87% year-on-year, despite prices in the sector dropping 1.78% month-on-month. In the key food and non-alcoholic drinks' sector prices jumped 90.25%.

The data had little impact on the lira, which traded at 18.2250, unchanged from its early levels.

The economic fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine has also stoked inflation this year, as well the lira's continued decline. The currency shed 44% against the dollar last year, and is down more than 27% this year.

The domestic producer price index rose 2.41% month-on-month in August for an annual rise of 143.75%.

The government has said inflation will fall with its economic programme prioritising low rates to boost production and exports with the aim of achieving a current account surplus.

According to government forecasts released on Sunday, Turkey expects inflation to ease to 65% by end-year.

The Reuters poll showed annual CPI was seen declining to just below 71% by end-2022. Polls show Turks believe inflation is far higher than official data.