Turkish central bank announces bigger than expected rate hike

Exterior of the Turkish Central Bank, known as Turkiye Cumhuriyet Merkez Bankasi in Ankara.Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty ImagesTurkey’s central bank on Thursday hiked interest rates by more than expected to 25%, signaling it was willing to follow through on a new commitment to damp inflation through monetary policy.The main policy rate was previously at 17.5%. Economists polled by Reuters expected a rise to 20%.The embattled Turkish lira rallied against the euro and U.S. dollar on the news.In a Thursday statement, the Turkish central bank committee said it “decided to continue the monetary tightening process in order to establish the disinflation course as soon as possible, to anchor inflation expectations, and to control the deterioration in pricing behavior.”The ongoing firm inflation rates pushed the central bank to recently revise its inflation forecast for the year-end from 22.3% to 58%. On Thursday, the bank said it expected year-end inflation to sit in the “upper bound of the forecast range.”Inflation has been falling since peaking at 85% in October 2022, but jumped from 38% in June this year to nearly 48% in July. The central bank on Thursday attributed the ongoing stickiness of national inflation to strong domestic demand, wage pressures, exchange rates, sticky services inflation and tax regulations.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June appointed former Wall Street Banker Hafize Gaye Erkan as the new central bank governor, indicating a shift away from the country’s controversial policy of lowering interest rates as inflation soared.The central bank has since announced two rate hikes, though the move of July fell short of market expectations.

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