May 03 2019

Turkey’s inflation rate is really 49 percent, economist says

Turkey’s consumer price inflation rate is far higher than the government is reporting, according to Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at John Hopkins University.

The most important price in Turkey’s economy is the lira’s exchange rate with the dollar, the world’s reserve currency, Hanke said in an analysis for Forbes magazine this week. Combined with the use of purchasing power parity, Turkey’s inflation rate is 49 percent, he said.

Turkish consumer price inflation surged to a 15-year high of 25.2 percent in October, official data showed, after a currency crisis ripped through the country’s economy. The rate of annual price increases slowed to 19.5 percent in April from 19.7 percent in March, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Friday.

Hanke said Turkey’s number one problem is inflation and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should stomp it out. To do that, the lira must be stabilised, he said.

Erdoğan can best deal with inflation by establishing a gold-backed currency board, Hanke said.

The lira has fallen by more than 10 percent against the dollar this year, adding to losses of 28 percent in 2018. It fell 0.2 percent to 5.97 per dollar in Istanbul on Friday.