Turkish annual inflation climbs to 2-year high of 17.7 pct

Turkey’s annual consumer price inflation surged to 17.1 percent year-on-year in April, the highest level in two years as the government is making efforts to control price hikes.

According to the official data released on Monday, consumer prices rose by 1.68 percent month-on-month while producer prices increased by 35.2 percent.

The already weak Turkish lira has slid in the past month over domestic financial woes, which led the Turkish Central Bank last week to raise its year-end inflation forecast to 12.2 percent from 9.4 percent.

Sahap Kavcioglu, the newly appointed governor of the bank, said the tight policy would last until price pressures decrease.

As the purchasing power of citizens is declining, government agents are making daily price controls in shops across the country, local press reported.

“The main components of inflation continue to have an upward trend due to the depreciation of the exchange rate and the increase in oil prices,” Enver Erkan, chief economist at Tera Securities, told Xinhua.

Turkey was recovering from a recession as the country was hit in 2020 by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused inflation to rise and created financial pain for most households.

The country is currently in lockdown, which began on April 29 and will last until May 17. The lockdown came ahead of the crucial summer season for tourism, which is essential for Turkish economy.

Businesses are forced to close, adding to the woes of citizens who complain that there is not enough public financial aid to offset their losses.

There is also light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against the coronavirus as Turkey is set to accelerate its mass vaccination campaign in June.

“By the end of June, we want to vaccinate our citizens aged over 40 … and those over 18 during the summer,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters on Sunday.

Nearly 24 million vaccinations have been carried out since January, with 9.6 million people having completed a two-dose course in the country of 83 million.

Turkey mainly uses the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, as well as lower numbers of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs. The country has also signed a deal for 50 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine that will start arriving this month.

“The economy will regain momentum with our vaccination program in the summer, so the impact of the virus would be felt less by our businesses,” a source close to the Turkish government told Xinhua.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, this source noted that a series of recently announced economic reforms would be implemented “without hesitation.”

“Those measures will make sure that the inflation is brought down to a five-percent target over the next three years,” the source said.