Turkey's inflation, rates to drop to single digits -Albayrak


ISTANBUL, March 19 (Reuters) - Turkey's inflation will fall to "single digits" by around September, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Tuesday, adding that high interest rates would also ease as soon as possible.

Last year's lira crisis boosted inflation to a 15-year peak of more than 25 percent in October. Since then it has dipped to just below 20 percent in February, even as the central bank held its policy rate at 24 percent.

The currency crisis saw the lira fall nearly 30 percent against the dollar last year, while annual growth slowed significantly in the third quarter and turned negative in the fourth.

"As soon as possible, we will bring down inflation and interest rates in Turkey to single digits step by step," he said.

With seasonal conditions supporting food production, structural steps to help pricing and the base effect, inflation will fall to single digits around September, the minister added.

Inflation is expected to fall to around 15 percent by the end of this year, according to the median forecast of a Reuters poll of 15 economists. They also expect the economy to contract in the first two quarters of 2019 before returning to growth.

The central bank has said it will keep policy tight until the inflation outlook displays a "significant improvement."

This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets , Economy

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