Turkiye: More businesses move to freeze prices on consumer products

More businesses have decided to join large supermarket chains in freezing prices as consumer inflation started to show signs of slipping last month with officials expecting a downward trend in inflation to continue in the coming months.

Cooperative grocers decided to freeze prices on a total of 150 items, Bendevi Palandöken, head of by the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) told daily Milliyet.

He recalled that large supermarkets already announced that they would not change the prices for a month in January. “Local, smaller supermarkets are following suit.”

They moved to freeze prices on most-consumed products, including sugar, flour, pasta, dairy products and cheese, according to Palandöken.

He noted that the Trade Ministry launched a website which shows the lowest prices in the market. “This helps to arrest the increase in prices.”

There are presently 250 cooperative grocers in six provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara,Konya, Rize and Trabzon, and their number will rise above 1,500 by the end of the year, Palandöken said.

Cooperative grocers are part of the KoopBakkal project, which was launched by the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkiye (Tarım Kredi Kooperatifleri) to reach out to more consumers. Those stores sell Tarım Kredi Kooperatifleri products.

The government also provides financing between 500,000 Turkish Liras and 1 million liras to those enterprises at an affordable interest rate of 7.5 percent, Palandöken said.

Palandöken voiced optimism that retailers’ decision to freeze prices will help bring inflation under control.

Earlier this month, large supermarkets, ŞOK, Migros, A101 and CarrefourSA announced that they will freeze or reduce prices on a wide range of products during January.

Members of the Turkiye Retailers Federation (TPF) also said they will not increase prices.

The entire retail sector supported calls for freezing and reducing prices and other sectors are also willing to follow suit, Treasury and Finance Minister Nurettin Nebati told reporters after the cabinet meeting this week.

It is very important that inflation decline to the targeted level this year, Nebati said, adding that deflation is not expected in January.

In the latest edition of the Medium-Term Program, the government forecast that inflation will decline to 24.9 percent at the end of 2023 and further down to 13.8 percent next year and to 9.9 percent in 2024.

The annual inflation rate fell from 84.4 percent in November 2022 to 64.3 percent last month.


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