Turkey’s consumer prices rose 3.15% month-on-month in February, while annual inflation eased to 55.18% from 57.68% in January, largely thanks to a favorable base effect, official data released on Friday showed.
The Turkish Statistical Institute said the February data did not involve field prices from Gaziantep, Malatya and Hatay, three of the 11 provinces that were hit by the massive earthquakes on Feb. 6, as the disaster made data collection in those regions impossible.
Prices in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group were the main driver of inflation in February, rising by 7.36% from the previous month. Annual food inflation stood at more than 69%. The second-highest monthly increase was in education prices, which were up by nearly 5.7%, followed by a 4.1% increase in restaurant and hotel prices.
Turkey’s consumer inflation hit a 24-year high of 85.5% in October before easing in the ensuing months, largely due to a favorable base effect.
The country’s economy is facing one of the worst turmoil in decades with merely 10 weeks to go to the country’s critical parliamentary and presidential elections that are expected to be held on May 14.
The earthquakes that killed more than 45,000 people in Turkey are expected to put further strain on the economy, as the disaster response requires a significant increase in public spending to meet the needs of more than 10 million affected people and rebuild massive destruction. The earthquake-hit provinces account for some 9% of the country’s GDP.