(Bloomberg) -- Turkish Trade Ministry officials will inspect price increases at five of the country’s biggest grocery chains, days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the nation’s top supermarkets for a surge in food prices.

Trade Minister Mehmet Mus ordered officials to inspect the prices of goods including eggs, milk, vegetables and cleaning supplies at the five chains, state news agency Anadolu reported, citing a Trade Ministry statement.

The price increases at the five chains “disrupts entire markets,” Erdogan said this week. He also pledged that his government would bring surging prices under control and blamed “opportunists” for rampant cost increases. 

The share prices of Turkey’s biggest public grocery chains fell sharply on Friday after Erdogan’s comments. BIM Birlesik Magazalar AS, nation’s biggest grocery chain in terms of market cap, dropped 2%, while second biggest Sok Marketler Ticaret AS sank 3.2% on Friday. Migros Ticaret AS and CarrefourSA Ticaret Merkezi AS declined 3.9% and 3%, respectively.

The inflation rate rose to 19.3% in August and many Turks are complaining of high prices for essential items including food, rent and electricity. Even with the jump in prices, Turkey’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate Thursday by 100 basis points to 18%, saying its monetary policy would be based on core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices.


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