Card expenditures up due to inflation and TRY devaluation


Turkey’s credit and debit card expenditures rose by 31.4% to TRY 213.6bn in December compared to November, according to the Central Bank. 

People’s grocery expenses surged by 38% to TRY 41.04bn and overall food spending increased by 37% in the same period.

Skyrocketing inflation and the expectation that prices could increase at any moment directed citizens to stockpile, while increased prices, which were raised in December, triggered the surge in card expenditures. 

In 2021 overall, the country’s credit and debit card expenditures jumped 62.3% to TRY 1.72tr, compared to 2020.

People’s total credit card expenditures totaled TRY 43.6bn in the last week of 2021 alone. Average weekly credit card expenditures totaled near 35bn in 2021, but accelerated starting from the week ending on November 26, exceeding TRY 40bn every week since. As a result of stockpiling and price increases, expenditure hovered around TRY 43-44bn in December. 

Card expenditures for gasoline and fuel increased by 30.8% to TRY 13.1bn in December as compared to November, particularly following the removal of the sliding scale system and TRY devaluation. 

Card expenditures for electrics and electronics rose by 7.5% to TRY 17.1bn as a result of sharp fluctuations in foreign exchange (FX) rates in the same period. Card expenditures on furniture, meanwhile, also increased by 37% to TRY 7bn. 

Credit card expenditures on food increased by 28.2% to TRY 10bn in December, compared to the previous month. The figure hit a historic high last month. The surge stemmed from a hike in food prices and the adverse impact of FX rates. 

The total number of transactions carried out by credit and debit cards also increased by 24.31% in the same period. The number of transactions for various food expenditures rose by 28.3% while the figure increased by 31.3% for market expenses. The number of transactions for food expenditures climbed by 21% in the same period.  Monthly inflation reached 13.58% while annual inflation hit 36.08%, a 19-year high, in December, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). Food inflation, which increased monthly by 15.99%, saw a 43.8% rise in December on an annual basis. USD/TRY, meanwhile, broke a record, hitting 18.36 in December.

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