Analysis: Less for more in Turkey: costly food starves economic rebound

Women shop at a local market in Istanbul, Turkey January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

January 15, 2021

By Ezgi Erkoyun and Jonathan Spicer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Food has become so expensive in Turkey that some people are spending what money they have to stock up on rice and pasta to avoid swallowing even higher prices in the months ahead.

Parents have switched to discount baby biscuits, the cost of eggs has nearly doubled in a year, and a mock photo is circulating on Twitter in which a man on bended knee offers a woman a can of cooking oil instead of an engagement ring.

“We are buying only the absolute necessary and cheapest brands out there. All food prices are rising but especially baby formulas,” said Huseyin Duran, 43, an Istanbul father of three and security guard receiving partial state pay for lost work.

“I worry about my kids,” he said. “We can only meet our rent, groceries and loan payments.”

In a world of near zero inflation and economic fallout from the coronavirus, Turkey stands out with annual consumer prices climbing to 15%, second only to Argentina among emerging markets and by far the highest in the OECD.

Rising oil and fertilizer prices and dry weather are part of the reason food inflation jumped more than 20% in a year. But economists also point to government policy decisions which saw the lira dive to record lows last year, hiking import costs on some $9 billion in food.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has reluctantly accepted sharp interest rate hikes that will slow an economic rebound just as COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out.

With surveys showing pantries are thinning out, Erdogan may need to do more about basic living costs even after installing a new central bank chief who in November pledged to tame inflation.

One policymaker told Reuters the government expects inflation to be difficult in 2021 and must be monitored.

Turkey is “mired in a painful stagflation” even amid coronavirus curfews and high borrowing costs, said Yesenn El-Radhi, senior sovereign analyst at Capital Intelligence Ratings.

“Inflationary pressures continue to be high due to the recent rise in global commodity prices and a lagged effect of the sharp lira depreciation,” he said.


A trip to a the market – where eggplant, orange and sunflower oil prices rose more than 50% last year – has become a serious strain for Turks in addition to the pandemic, which has already depressed workers and incomes.

“Every time I fill my pantry the shopping bags get lighter but the bill gets higher,” said Pinar, 31, who declined to give a surname. “I buy in bulk so I don’t have to shop again for three or four months.”

A furloughed chef, Pinar gets part of her salary under a temporary ban on layoffs that she says only covers rent and utilities. “I’ve had many sleepless nights (and) in the end I think I’ll be unemployed.”

Hyperinflation dogged Turkey in the 1990s and only ended with an International Monetary Fund programme that tamed prices just as Erdogan came to power in 2003.

Inflation, led by food, jumped again in a 2018 currency crisis and has since remained mostly in double-digits. Economists blame a chronic trade imbalance and costly state FX interventions that depleted reserves.


A Metropoll survey last month showed 80% believe inflation is higher than the official tally. A separate survey by the Deep Poverty Network showed more than half of respondents in Istanbul relied on food handouts from the municipality.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, said the situation was getting worse. “There had not been hunger in Turkey before. But hunger is the reality now.”

In a turnaround, Erdogan in November said even “bitter pills” like high rates were needed to cool prices. Lutfi Elvan, his new finance minister, said he would take structural steps to fight inflation, which is expected to edge higher until April.

The government has several levers it can pull to ease pressure on the public. Ankara has already cut taxes on tobacco, which weighs heavily in the consumer price index (CPI), even while it raised duties on alcohol and road tolls which have less impact on the headline number.

State agencies also set the price of utilities such as natural gas and electricity. Last month the government raised the minimum wage by a net 16% for 2021, to 2,825 lira ($377) a month, in a boost to workers but also to overall CPI.

“You cannot solve the food problem with interest rates,” Gizem Oztok Altinsac, chief economist at Turkey’s top business organisation TUSIAD, told a conference last week.

“Our problem with inflation is too big so we have to take more targeted steps to solve it.”

(Additional reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu, Orhan Coskun and Murad Sezer; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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ACT will be $40 million better off over 20 years thanks to container deposit scheme: analysis | The Canberra Times

news, latest-news, act container deposit scheme

The ACT’s container deposit scheme, which offers a 10 cent refund on returned bottles and cans, will leave the territory $40 million better off over the next two decades despite lower than forecast levels of use, an independent analysis has found. The analysis, written by Dr Sarah Yu from the University of Canberra’s faculty of business, government and law, found the scheme lessened the cost to the environment by $71 million over 20 years. But ACT consumers will bear a $49 million cost over the same period, which included both taxation and participation costs. The costs to the beverage industry were estimated to be $0. The benefits of the scheme included reduced landfill costs, avoided street sweeping costs and avoided waste collection, processing and transport costs. The largest cost of the scheme is the container redemption infrastructure and operating costs, valued at $40.7 million. The analysis found there would be a net benefit of $3.2 million for the ACT government. The analysis estimated the cost to Canberra households would be $2 million and the cost to businesses would be $3 million for participating in the scheme over a 20-year period. “These [household] costs include vehicle operating costs, travel time and container deposit redemption time … At the same time, businesses who are involved in the [container deposit scheme] will incur costs to take beverage containers to temporary storage sites, cleaners and other personnel involved in the larger storage infrastructure,” the analysis said. The report noted take-up of the scheme had been lower than forecast, but over the first 20 months of the scheme the difference between the number of containers forecast and returned has decreased. The difference would have little effect on the overall economic benefit. “The results of this analysis reveal that the scheme is highly beneficial to the ACT community, with total benefits exceeding total costs by nearly $40 million. One reason for this significant result lies in the estimate of the community’s willingness to pay for litter reduction,” Dr Yu wrote in the paper, which was published in Economic Papers in November. Not all benefits could be easily quantified and some were omitted from the analysis, including community recycling behavioural change, avoided resource depletion and a reduction in waterway litter. “Fortunately, these unqualified factors would improve the [cost benefit analysis] outcome even if they could be included,” Dr Yu wrote. Last year, City Services Minister Chris Steel flagged the government could increase the refund on each beverage container from 10 cents to 15 cents. Mr Steel said only 50 per cent of available containers were being redeemed or recycled, with the rest ending up in landfill.


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Scottish government analysis highlights benefits of re-joining EU

The Scottish Government has launched a public information campaign to provide support and guidance following the change in its relationship with the EU. A factsheet published in the context of this campaign, titled: EU-UK negotiations: outcome analysis, details an early assessment of what the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations means for Scotland.

The analysis highlights benefits of re-joining EU.

The analysis lays out the challenges presented in mitigating the wide ranging impact of the deal, and underlines why the Scottish Government believes the best future for Scotland is as an independent country within the EU.

“The comparison between the benefits of being a full member of the European Union (EU) and the position after the end of the transition period shows no corner of Scotland’s life and work will be untouched,” says a statement by the Scottish government.

The UK deal, which has been denied consent by the Scottish Parliament, means Scotland will be taken out of the Single Market and the Customs Union on the last day of 2020, hitting jobs and living standards hard.

This initial analysis lays out what Scotland has lost by leaving the EU with this deal – and what it would regain by re-joining – highlighting the impact on Scotland’s economy, trade in services, fisheries, participation in EU programmes, internal security, free movement of people and the environment.

It includes detail on various sectors, including food, for example, where the UK Government has not secured any legally binding protection within the EU of existing UK Geographical Indicators (GIs) – nor any preferential arrangements for the recognition in the EU of potential future UK GIs.  

“This analysis is sobering reading for anyone with Scotland’s best interests at heart,” said Scotland’s Constitution Secretary Michael Russell. “Post-Brexit relationships with the EU could have taken many different forms and the damaging outcome with which we are now faced is the result of a political choice by the UK Government, and firmly against the wishes of Scotland.”

“As a responsible government we are doing everything we can to mitigate against the consequences of the UK Government’s actions, but we cannot avert every negative outcome.”

“We know that businesses are already struggling under the burden of COVID-19, and are now faced with the need to prepare for the economic shock of this hard Brexit,” Russell added.

“Our position is clearer than ever – Scotland now has the right to choose its own future, as an independent country and seek to regain the benefits of EU membership.”

“This analysis demonstrates the substantial benefits that we would regain by becoming an independent member state in our own right.”

Running from the 1 January until the end of the month across radio, print, digital and social channels, the campaign signposts the public to for further information. 

The analysis of the deal’s impact can be read online.

The Scottish Government has also published analysis of the deal on fishing which shows for some key Scottish stocks the UK deal is worse for the industry than the EU Common Fisheries Policy.



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Casual and part-time jobs at record levels after Australia’s Covid recession, analysis finds | Australian economy

Australia has experienced the biggest expansion of casual employment in the country’s history, according to new analysis that suggests the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been “starkly unequal”.

And the Australia Institute, which carried out the analysis, has argued the government’s planned industrial relations changes will only “reinforce the growing dominance of insecure work in the labour market”.

On Wednesday the progressive thinktank also released the results of new polling suggesting “unprecedented” was the single most popular choice among surveyed Australians for a word to describe 2020.

A third of those surveyed in the nationally representative sample of 1,018 Australians on 17 and 18 December nominated working from home as a change they wanted to keep next year.

The analysis by the institute’s Centre for Future Work says the labour market experienced unprecedented volatility in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and Australia’s first recession in nearly three decades.

The early months of the pandemic “highlighted stark fissures in Australia’s labour market”, with casual workers losing employment eight times faster than those in permanent jobs.

The report points to an “encouraging” rebound in employment after May – replacing over 80% of the jobs lost in the initial downturn – but it says this turnaround has been dominated by insecure positions.

It says casual jobs accounted for 60% of all waged jobs created since May, while part-time work accounted for nearly three-quarters of all new jobs.

Meanwhile “very insecure positions” – including in the gig economy – were responsible for the rebound in self-employment.

“Casual employment grew by over 400,000 positions between May and November – an average of 2,200 new casual jobs per day,” the report says.

“That is by far the biggest expansion of casual employment in Australia’s history. Claims that new hiring is being held back by legal ‘uncertainty’ related to recent casual work court decisions are not credible.”

The report also notes young people “suffered much worse job losses in the initial months of the pandemic”.

While pre-pandemic employment levels have recovered for workers over 35, younger workers are still suffering significant job losses – a phenomenon that explains why the government introduced a new youth wage subsidy in the October budget.

The report says women suffered disproportionate job losses when the pandemic arrived, and that gender gap had yet to be closed.

“Women’s employment, unemployment, underemployment and participation all remain significantly weaker than for men.”

Another fault line during the pandemic was whether people worked in offices. Professional, managerial and clerical staff were largely able to switch to working from home and suffered lower levels of job losses.

According to the Centre for Future Work, employment remains lower than before the pandemic in some other occupations, including community and personal services, sales workers and labourers.

“These uneven occupational effects have exacerbated inequality: those who lost work, on average, earned less and experienced greater job insecurity before the pandemic,” it says.

“Some industries are still experiencing lower employment than before the pandemic hit, including hospitality, information and communications, and arts and recreation.

“Job losses in manufacturing continue to worsen, despite the recovery in the rest of the economy after May – belying the government’s pledge to strengthen domestic manufacturing after the pandemic.”

The government introduced an industrial relations bill to parliament just before the Christmas break that would, among other things, create a right for casual employees to request to become permanent after 12 months.

But the bill states that if a casual employee is misclassified and a court finds they are owed entitlements because they perform regular, permanent work, the casual loading already paid is subtracted from the employer’s liability. This retrospective change could wipe out claims worth up to $39bn.

The Centre for Future Work says the government’s bill would liberalise casual work and allow permanent part-time workers to be treated like casuals.

“These measures will accelerate the surge of insecure work – and ensure that the next economic shock will have even more unequal effects than this one did,” the report says.

The separate polling commissioned by the Australia Institute provides an insight into people’s perceptions of 2020.

The 1,018 respondents were presented with 11 words or phrases and asked which best described the year just gone. The most popular choice (19%) was “unprecedented”, followed by “terrible” (14%), “tragic” (12%) and “exhausting” (12%).

The respondents were also presented with a range of option of changes that they would keep from 2020 if possible.

The most popular choices included less work travel (35%), increased funding for mental health and family violence services (33%) and working from home arrangements (32%).

The executive director of the Australia Institute, Ben Oquist, said: “Tellingly, last on Australians’ wish-list for the new year is the government’s much-vaunted ‘gas-led recovery’ which only 6% of Australians selected as something they’d like to keep from 2020.”

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AFL fixture 2021: Club-by-club fixture, analysis, winners and losers, easiest and hardest fixtures, schedule, latest news

The journey towards that one day in September can finally be plotted out.

But some teams will have a harder road than others, thanks to the unbalanced 22-game schedule.

Scroll down to see your AFL club’s 2021 fixture plus full analysis of the pros, cons and general difficulty.

Get all the latest AFL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!

Grand Final


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F1 2020: Driver ratings, Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, news, analysis,

The long, drawn-out 2020 Formula 1 season is finally over and it ended with Lewis Hamilton doing celebratory doughnuts as he claimed his seventh world championship.

But despite his impressive skills behind the wheel of the Mercedes, he wasn’t our highest-rated driver of the season, with some members of the rest of the field proving they belong with the Brit as one of the elite drivers in the paddock.

Then there were those who didn’t fare so well, with Ferrari’s dismal displays shackling their drivers and Red Bull’s struggle to find a competitive teammate for Max Verstappen continuing.

See below to find out which drivers were top of the class, and which need to go back to school…

Ricciardo: I’m pretty stoked


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Nifty Analysis: Tech View: Nifty bulls defending support, but upside looks limited

NEW DELHI: Nifty50 on Tuesday tested its immediate support range at 13,450-470, before recovering and closing in the black. With this, the index formed an indecisive Doji candle on the daily chart for the fourth consecutive day. The bulls seem to be defending the support levels rigorously, but the upside seems limited, analysts said.

“The bulls are constantly protecting the 13,400-13,450 zone in intraday declines. On the upside, the bears are protecting the 13,550-13,600 zone. Moreover, multiple Doji and Hanging Man candlestick patterns on the daily chart suggest lack of momentum in the uptrend. A trade below 13,400 level may trigger sharp corrections in Nifty to 13,200-13,100 levels. The RSI is also suggesting lack of momentum on the upside,” said Aditya Agarwala, Senior Technical Analyst at YES Securities.

For the day, Nifty closed at 13,567, up 9.70 points or 0.07 per cent.

“For the fourth straight session, we have witnessed such a move where the market has recovered from the lows and ended with the formation of a Doji candle. Although this does not reflect any trend reversal, the 13,400-13,600 zone now becomes a crucial range and a breakout of the same would lead to the next leg of directional move. A move above the 13,600 level may lead to an extension of this trend towards 13,750 level, which is the 127 per cent retracement level of the previous correction on the weekly charts,” said Ruchit Jain of Angel Broking.

The hourly momentum indicator has completed its correction cycle and is set for a new cycle on the upside from the equilibrium line, said Gaurav Ratnaparkhi, Senior Technical Analyst at Sharekhan.

Check out the candlestick formations in the latest trading sessions

“The junction of 40-hour exponential moving average and the hourly lower Bollinger Band is attracting fresh buying interest. These observations suggest Nifty maintains its upward trajectory with a short-term target at 13,700,” he said.

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