Motorists queue along a street to buy fuel at Ceylon petroleum corporation fuel station in Colombo on May 18, 2022. – Sri Lanka is in the throes of its worst-ever economic crisis with its 22 million people enduring severe hardships to secure food, fuel and medicines while facing record inflation and lengthy power blackouts. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
Sri Lanka’s inflation surged to 60.8 per cent in July, up from 54.6 per cent in June, the crisis-hit country’s statistics department said on Saturday, as food and fuel remained scarce amid depleted foreign exchange reserves.
The year-on-year inflation based on the Colombo Consumer Price Index was 60.8 per cent in July, the Department of Census and Statistics said in a statement.
In June it was 54.6 per cent. The year-on-year food inflation in July is 90.9 up from 80.1 per cent in June. The country’s central bank has said inflation may peak at 75 per cent. Sri Lankans have faced a shortage of essentials amid the ongoing economic meltdown, the worst since 1948.
Until mid this month, there was a severe shortage of cooking gas with long lines for refills. The situation has now eased with several shipments coming. However, the miles-long fuel queues can still be seen.
The country has been negotiating a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) The talks with the IMF have hit a snag over the need to restructure debt.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office in a statement on Friday said the negotiations with the IMF have been progressing.
The statement said that political negotiations to form an all-party government are underway to achieve political stability after the recent turmoil in the country.
Sri Lanka has seen months of mass unrest over the worst economic crisis, with the government declaring bankruptcy in mid-April by refusing to honour its international debt.
The protests in the country led Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign as the president. The previous Rajapaksa administration is accused of bungling the economic crisis.