Turkey Looks To End “Unofficial” Economic Data By Threatening Jail Time

Turkey is unsurprisingly looking to limit public knowledge on just how bad it’s economy is getting to be. It’s been reported by Bloomberg that the country is currently in the process of outlawing the publishing of unofficial economic data without prior approval.

The proposed law, which is expected to be submitted this week to Turkey’s parliament, would propose up to three years in prison for individuals that publish unofficial economic indicator data without prior approval from the agency that currently deals with statistics in the country, the Turkish Statistical Institute. The law, if enacted, would enable the institute to have up to two months to “review methodology” of the data collected.

The proposed law reportedly follows data releases from ENAGroup on the current state of inflation within the country. The group reported that inflation in March increased by 11.93% over that of February, resulting in an annual inflation figure of 142.63%, which lead to a criminal complaint being filed against the group by the statistical agency. The Turkish Statistical Institute for the same time period reported a more modest 61.14% rate of inflation.

ENAGroup provided a break down of the month over month inflation seen in the country, which includes:

  • Food and soft drinks: 15.80%
  • Clothing and shoes: 4.15%
  • Communications: -2.49%
  • Entertainment and culture: 8.69%
  • Health: 78.44%
  • Housing: 6.48%
  • Restaurant and hotels: -1.41%
  • Transportation: 15.68%

In terms of methodology, the group says that it collects prices of items in the index hourly and daily, so as to provide a rolling snapshot for consumers what current inflation rates are, while removing the need for seasonal adjustment. The inflation basket used is said to include 339 of the 418 items used by the Turkstat basket, however weights have been changed due to consumption habit changes during the pandemic. Admittedly, its rather unclear specifically what weights are applied to each item.

As for the Turkish government itself, President Erdogan’s government has hardly avoided controversy on the topic of inflation. He has been known to slash interest rates as a means of attempting to reduce inflation, while earlier this year he attempted to rescue his falling Turkish Lira by working to entice consumers to convert their foreign currencies to Lira time deposits.

The Turkish Lira as of late has been subject to some level of stability, and is currently hovering around an exchange ratio of 14.64 Lira to 1 US Dollar.

Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg, ENAGroup, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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