Sri Lanka’s inflation rate accelerates to Asia’s fastest – Bloomberg

Sri Lanka’s inflation rate accelerates to Asia’s fastest – Bloomberg

Sri Lanka’s inflation rate accelerates to Asia’s fastest – Bloomberg

Written by Staff Writer

01 Feb, 2022 | 6:23 pm

Sri Lanka’s inflation rate surged past Pakistan to make it the fastest in Asia, stoked by failed harvests, import restrictions to conserve dwindling foreign-exchange reserves, and high global prices of key commodities.

Consumer prices rose 14.2 per cent in January from a year earlier, faster than the median estimate of 13.2 per cent in a Bloomberg survey. The average annual inflation rate rose to 6.9 per cent.

Quickening prices pushed the central bank to raise its main interest rate for the first time in three meetings this month. The island nation’s foreign reserves were about $3.1 billion in December, with almost $7 billion of overseas debt due for repayment in 2022.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration announced a $1-billion relief package this month, raising salaries of government employees and offering farmers compensation for failed crops in a bid to temper public anger over surging prices of food and medicine.

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has also approved importing rice from India to cool prices. It is seeking a debt restructuring from China — its biggest creditor — after drawing down a $1.5 billion Chinese swap line and securing another $400 million facility from India.

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