Turkish inflation hits fresh record at 61.1 percent last month

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Turkey’s inflation hit a new record in March, official data showed Monday, driven up by the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and soaring energy prices.

Consumer prices accelerated to 61.14 percent at an annual rate, up from 54.4 percent in February, according to the statistics agency.

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The weakening lira and the rising cost of living has become a major source of public discontent in Turkey as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces an election next year.

The currency was stable following the latest inflation data, trading at 14.7 lira against the dollar and 16.2 lira against euro.

The war in its Black Sea neighborhood has had a major impact on Turkey as Russia is a key supplier of energy while Ukraine ships wheat. Turkish tourism industry also mainly relies on Russian tourists.

While countries around the world are facing rising inflation, Turkey’s problems have also been affected by Erdogan’s unorthodox economic approach.

The Turkish leader rejects the idea that inflation should be fought by hiking the main interest rate, which he believes causes prices to grow even higher -- the exact opposite of conventional economic thinking.

In January, Erdogan changed the head of the state statistics agency.

Turkish media reported that he was unhappy with the inflation figures it published while the opposition believes that the official figures grossly underestimate the reality.

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