Record 14% inflation in Sri Lanka amid food crisis
As Sri Lanka's food and fuel shortages worsen, year to year inflation rose by 14% in December.
Sri Lanka's Census and Statistics Department said year-on-year inflation in December was the highest since the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) was established in 2015, as consumer prices rose by a record 14%, according to AFP.
December's inflation surpassed November's, which was recorded at a high of 11.1%, amid a worsening food and fuel crisis.
Rice harvests due in March are expected to drastically lower the severity of the crisis after an agrochemical import ban last year saw farmers abandoning more than 30% of agricultural land. The ban was lifted in October following protests, however, banks still lack the foreign currency needed to finance the imports.
The island's tourism-dependent economy was also hit by the pandemic, as the government imposed broad import restrictions to avert a foreign exchange crisis, triggering a shortage of essential goods.
The Census and Statistics Department also said food inflation hit a record 21.5%, up from 16.9% in November and 7.5% a year ago.
Supermarkets have been rationing milk powder, sugar, lentils, and other essentials for months with a top official warning last month of more restrictions to feed those most in need.
Sri Lanka's foreign reserves have greatly declined since President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office in 2019, going from $7.5 billion to $3.1 billion at the end of December, which is only enough to finance less than two months of imports.