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Turkey's cenbank holds rate at 14% despite lira slide, soaring inflation

ISTANBUL, May 26 (Reuters) - Turkey's central bank held its policy rate at 14% for a fifth straight month on Thursday as expected, even as inflation is expected rise beyond 70% currenty while a fresh slide in the lira threatens to stoke prices further.

The bank defended its policy decision saying it expects disinflation to start due to measures already taken for price stability, a so-called base effect and an expected end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The bank cut its policy rate by 500 basis points at the end of last year as inflation rose, an unorthodox move long sought by President Tayyip Erdogan despite prices that were already climbing.

The easing cycle sparked a currency crisis that saw the lira end the year down 44% against the dollar, stoking inflation.

Inflation rose to 69.97% in April and is expected to rise further in coming months, due largely to the lira crisis but also due to fallout from the war, economists say.

The lira declined to 16.43 against the dollar after the rate decision, from 16.38 beforehand. (Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Daren Butler; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)

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