ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Annual inflation in Turkey hit 73.5% in May, the highest rate since 1998, according to official data released Friday as a cost-of-living crisis in the country deepens.
The Turkish Statistical Institute said the rate represented an increase of almost 70% from the month before. Consumer prices were up nearly 3% from April, the institute reported.
While many countries are seeing rising consumer prices, critics blame Turkey’s problems on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic policies.
The Turkish leader insists that high borrowing costs cause inflation – a position that contradicts established economic thinking – and advocates lowering interest rates to boost growth and exports.
Turkey’s central bank has cut rates by 5 percentage points since September, to 14% before pausing them in January. The Turkish lira lost 44% of its value against the U.S. dollar last year.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to a surge in gas, oil and grain prices, has compounded the situation in import-reliant Turkey.
The sharpest increases in annual prices were in the transportation sector, at 107.6%, followed by food and non-alcoholic drinks prices at 91.6%, according to the statistical institute’s data.