Turkey probes cement firms as property prices rise at record pace

Turkey’s government has started an investigation into the prices charged by the cement industry, the Dünya newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The Trade Ministry has appointed a team to look into claims of excessive price hikes reported in the media and to ascertain whether free market rules are being followed, Dünya said, citing unidentified sources.

Inflation in Turkey has surged to the highest levels in two decades, creating hardship for ordinary Turks and crimping the profits of many companies. Consumer price inflation reached an annual 54.4 percent in February and producer price inflation hit almost 100 percent.

Turkey’s inflation problem and a slump in the value of the lira has led to a jump in house prices, potentially pricing many people out of the property market. Demand for housing has grown after returns from lira bank deposits failed to keep pace with inflation.

News of the probe came on the same day that the central bank reported a surge in the price of residential properties. Costs jumped by 77.4 percent annually in January, with the price of new dwellings soaring by 85.7 percent, the bank said in a monthly report on Wednesday. That was a record high increase, according to the survey, which reports data stretching back to January 2015. Prices increased by 13.1 percent month-on-month, the bank said.



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