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UPDATE 1-Turkey charts its 'own path' in fighting inflation, finance minister says

·1 min read

(Adds quotes, details, background)

ISTANBUL, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Turkey is making the fight against rising prices a priority, putting aside "orthodox policies" and charting its own course, Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati said on Wednesday, after annual inflation surged to a 19-year high 36% in December.

Under pressure from President Tayyip Erdogan, who is focused on boosting production, exports and economic growth, the central bank has slashed interest rates despite the rising prices.

"We have put aside orthodox policies, now it is heterodox policies," Nebati told a business group in a speech. He said Turkey would not compromise on budget discipline and would implement monetary and fiscal policies in harmony.

"We will move on our own path, not on a path drawn for us by others," he said, vowing to introduce new instruments to support production-focused, manufacturing and export-oriented companies.

The lira weakened 44% in 2021, in turn stoking prices via imports and leading to the highest inflation under Erdogan's rule. After firming in early trade, the lira was slightly weaker at 13.47 to the dollar after Nebati's speech.

Despite rising inflation, the central bank has slashed its policy rate by 500 basis points to 14% since September, spooking investors and leaving real yields deeply in negative territory.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen, Ezgi Erkoyun and Can Sezer Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Ece Toksabay and Nick Macfie)

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