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Turkish central bank cuts rates more than expected on slowing inflation

Turkey's central bank slashed its key rate by more than expected as inflation expectations dimmed.

The Türkiye Cumhuriyet Merkez Bankası AS cut its one-week repo auction rate by 200 basis points to 12%, 50 basis points more than the consensus estimate of economists polled by Trading Economics.

This marks the fourth rate cut since Murat Uysal took the helm of the Turkish central bank in July after the previous governor was ousted over a difference of opinion about monetary policy.

The lira appreciated 0.3% against the dollar as of 8 a.m. ET.

Economic activity in the country continues to recover, but the contribution of net exports to growth is declining and investment demand remains weak, the central bank said. The central bank expects to sustain economic recovery through the ongoing disinflation process and improvement in financial conditions.

The central bank forecasts inflation to materialize closer to 12% — the lower bound of its October projections — by the end of 2019, saying risks to disinflation are balanced for 2020.

After peaking at more than 25% during Turkey's currency crisis in 2018, annual inflation has been on a downward path this year, reaching single digits in September and October before edging up to 10.6% in November.

The central bank's Monetary Policy Committee plans to maintain a cautious stance and determine the extent of any monetary tightness based on underlying inflation trends.