Minister says Iran nuclear deal important for Turkish exports

Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek also said Turkey faces an unwelcome trend in inflation

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Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said on Friday that a deal between Iran and six world powers that curbs Tehran’s nuclear program will help boost Turkey’s exports to its neighbor.

The agreement, which was reached on Thursday after talks in Switzerland, will also help reduce global oil prices, Simsek said in a live interview with broadcaster NTV.

Meanwhile, Simsek also said Turkey faces an unwelcome trend in inflation, driven by higher food prices and the stronger dollar, adding the trend could change due to lower oil prices.

Faced with flagging growth and parliamentary elections, President Tayyip Erdogan has demanded lower borrowing costs, raising concerns about the independence of the central bank.

The central bank kept rates on hold at its last meeting, citing the impact of a sliding currency on inflation. March's rising food prices also highlight the pressure on living costs for ordinary Turks - something Erdogan and the AK Party he founded want to avoid ahead of elections.

The inflation outlook “is far from justifying” a resumption in interest rate cuts, Finansbank economist Gokce Celik said in a note. “We see the bank remaining on hold in its April meeting, as it did in March.”

Consumer prices jumped 1.19 percent month-on-month, the Turkish Statistics Institute said, well above the 0.89 percent increase forecast in a Reuters poll.

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