Turkish inflation below expectations

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Turkish consumer inflation was slightly below analysts’ expectations in February, data showed on Monday, mainly due to a limited rise in food prices, though annual inflation remained above the central bank’s year-end target.

Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent month-on-month in February, below a Reuters poll forecast of 0.4 percent, for year-on-year inflation of 7.03 percent, the Turkish Statistics Institute said.

Markets were unmoved by the data.

The yield on the two-year benchmark bond briefly inched down to 5.73 percent after the announcement, from Friday’s close at 5.75 percent, but was at 5.76 percent by 0825GMT. The lira eased slightly to 1.8040 to the dollar, from 1.8030 earlier.

“Although monthly inflation stood below expectations in February, annual inflation is still above the central bank target,” said Elif Gulay Girgin, chief economist at Ata Invest.

“But I don’t think today’s data will affect the central bank’s policy stance. The bank is more focused on the lira’s value and growth ... it seems confident on the inflation side.”

The producer price index fell 0.13 percent on the month, for an annual rise of 1.84 percent.

The central bank’s year-end inflation target is 5 percent. It holds its next policy meeting on March 26.

At its February policy meeting, the bank cut two of its three main interest rates to prevent speculative capital inflows from boosting the lira currency too sharply, while also takingsteps to cool domestic loan growth.