Turkish central bank cuts rates 75 pts in measured move

ISTANBUL, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Turkey’s central bank trimmed its key interest rate by 75 points to 11.25% on Thursday as expected, its most restrained move since it began easing in July, suggesting monetary stimulus was winding down as the economy recovers from recession.

The bank cut its benchmark one-week repo rate from 12%, pushing real rates into negative territory for locals with lira deposits after the main year-over-year inflation measure rose to 11.8% in December.

The median of a Reuters poll saw a 50-point cut, with one camp of economists predicting 100 points and another expecting the bank would stand pat given inflation strength and lira weakness toward the end of 2019.

Inflation has dropped from a peak above 25% in the wake of a 2018 currency crisis that cut the Turkish lira’s value by nearly 30%. The brief but sharp recession that followed saw economic growth all but disappear in 2019.

The central bank responded to the crisis by hiking its policy rate to 24%, where it had stayed until July of last year.

As he aggressively slashed rates in the second half of 2019, Central Bank Governor Murat Uysal said monetary policy was tied to a “reasonable” real rate of return. (Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen, Nevzat Devranoglu, Ezgi Erkoyun and Daren Butler; Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Toby Chopra)