Roundup: Turkish inflation keeps rising, adding burden to ordinary Turks

by Burak Akinci

ANKARA, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Türkiye's annual inflation climbed to more than 60 percent in September, according to official data published Tuesday. The rising costs of living pushed more cash-strapped households to juggle between stores for discount products.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, inflation rose to 61.53 percent year-on-year with a monthly increase of 4.75 percent in September.

Following eight months of decline to 38.2 percent in June, the lowest level in a year and a half, annual inflation increased again in July, reaching 47.8 percent and 59 percent in August, due to the lira's continued weakening in the import-reliant country.

"I am between jobs and currently staying at my parents' house, otherwise it would have been impossible for me to cope with the burden of inflation," Tahsin Deniz Arpaci, a laid-off mechanical engineer, told Xinhua in the capital city Ankara.

While retailers are advertising sales on food products and other goods, many items still cost more than they did last year, and finding a true bargain may prove to be a challenge.

"We have to juggle between several stores to find cheaper goods but then risk paying more transport fares (between shops), Arpaci complained.

Türkiye has been experiencing uninterrupted double-digit inflation since the end of 2019, making the cost of living difficult to bear for households across the country despite wage and pension hikes.

According to agricultural expert Ali Ekber Yildirim, food prices will continue to rise in the winter, causing further hardships for families.

"Producer inflation will rise even more in the coming months as energy, diesel and fertilizer prices have more than doubled since the start of the year," he said in his video blog.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following re-election in May promised to improve the economy and embraced a pivot away from his ultra-loose monetary policies of the past.

A new economic team he put in place hiked interest rates aggressively from 8.5 percent to 30 percent since June to tame persistent inflation.

Yet, driven by the government's tax increase, hefty wage hikes, and rising exchange rates, inflation picked up again in the past three months.

Turkish government raised its annual inflation forecast to 65 percent for this year and only expected it to enter a downward trend as of the first half of 2024.

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