Inflation outlook unchanged, Turkey tees up more rate cuts

Relative stability

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Turkey’s central bank made no changes to its inflation outlook for the end of this year and next, reinforcing a message of confidence that it’s keeping a lid on prices despite a pickup in cost pressures and rapid-fire cuts to interest rates under the new governor.

Policy makers still project inflation at 8.2% in 2020 and 5.4% by the end of 2021, according to their quarterly report. Small increases to estimates for oil prices, labor costs and Turkey’s output gap were offset by improvements in the underlying trend of inflation and tax adjustments.

Speaking in Ankara on Thursday, Governor Murat Uysal said that food inflation, a major driver of price growth this year, isn’t yet forecast to soften. Uysal added that he sees no inflationary pressure from Turkey’s economic recovery, even as growth is forecast close to its potential.

By treading carefully with no adjustments to expectations, the central bank is underscoring a change in its guidance, which now assumes a more gradual pace of easing after last year’s massive rate decrease. Further cuts could still be in store even as the governor has for now stood by his promise of a positive real rate of return to investors, pointing out that yields will run above zero based on the projected path of slowing inflation.

“Turkey has offered high real interest rate in 2019,” Uysal said. “Since then, neutral rates in developed markets have declined, monetary policies have been adjusted in developing markets. Considering these facts and our year-end inflation forecast, I can say, Turkey offers positive real rates.”

In its rush to lower rates into single digits, the central bank this month pushed Turkey’s benchmark into negative territory when adjusted for inflation.

Read more: yahoo