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Lira Extends Worst Start Since 2009 as Inflation Accelerates

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The lira weakened, extending its worst start to the year since 2009, as inflation in Turkey quickened to the highest level in three months.

The currency depreciated as much as 1 percent and traded 0.4 percent lower at 2.2658 against the dollar at 3:53 p.m. in Istanbul. Inflation accelerated to 7.48 percent in January, above the 7.43 percent average estimate of 12 economists in a Bloomberg survey, as food prices jumped more than 10 percent.

Price increases were “the primary” reason why the lira fell today, Bora Dirik, a trader at Standard Bank Plc, said in e-mailed comments.

The lira lost 5 percent in January as a corruption scandal that forced three ministers to resign hurt investor confidence. The central bank raised its benchmark one-week repurchase agreements rate to 10 percent last month from 4.5 percent, saying monetary policy will remain tight until the outlook for price increases shows a “significant” improvement.

The central bank is aiming to cut inflation to its annual 5 percent target by mid-2015, it said Jan. 28. It missed the goal for the past three years.

Economic growth in Turkey will fall to 3 percent this year from an estimated 3.9 percent in 2013, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. The economy expanded 2.2 percent in 2012, down from 8.8 percent in the previous year.

Morgan Stanley raised its consumer inflation forecast to 8.5 percent from 7.5 percent after today’s data, according to an e-mailed note from Tevfik Aksoy, the bank’s London-based chief economist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Stagflation

“The risk of stagflation has increased after the central bank raised rates and inflation deviating from target lessens the central bank’s credibility,” Standard Bank’s Dirik said.

Turkey’s producer-price inflation rate climbed to 10.72 percent and core inflation accelerated to 7.59 percent, according to data released today.

“The increase in producer prices and core measures are harbingers” of quickening inflation by the middle of the year, Ercan Erguzel, an economist at Denizbank AS in Istanbul, wrote in e-mailed comments.

Yields on 10-year bonds declined 9 basis points to 10.24 percent, dropping for a second day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Selcuk Gokoluk in Istanbul at sgokoluk@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Samuel Potter at spotter33@bloomberg.net

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