Cash-strapped Sri Lanka saw its highest inflation on record for the eighth consecutive month in May, official data showed Wednesday, as the island nation grapples with its worst-ever economic crisis.
The Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) rose 39.1% year-on-year last month, up from 29.8% in April, according to the statistics department.
Food inflation in Colombo came in at 57.4%, up from 46.6% in April.
The price increases in May were yet to fully capture the sharp increases in fuel, one of the many vital commodities in scarce supply across the country.
Private economists say consumer prices are rising even faster than official records show, with one John Hopkins University analyst tracking March inflation at 133% – more than six times the official figure.
Sri Lanka’s import-dependent economy has been hammered by a critical foreign currency shortage, leading to months of acute shortages of food, medicines and other essentials.
Faced with a huge cash crunch, the government on Tuesday raised taxes across the board by rolling back cuts ordered by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November 2019.
Weeks of protests outside the president’s seafront office have demanded his resignation over government mismanagement of the crisis.
Sri Lanka has defaulted on its US$51 billion foreign debt and is seeking international aid to revive its bankrupt economy, including from the International Monetary Fund.