Sri Lankan inflation rises to 1% in October

Lotus tower in Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s consumer price inflation rose to 1% in October year-on-year from 0.8% in September, the statistics department said on Tuesday.

The National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), which captures broader retail price inflation, is released with a lag of 21 days every month.

Food prices fell 5.2% in October after declining 5.2% in September, from a year earlier, the Department of Census and Statistics said in a statement.

Prices for non-food items, however, climbed 6.3% in October after rising 5.9% year-on-year in September.

Sri Lanka racked up record high inflation last year after its economy was pummelled by the worst financial crisis in decades, triggered by a sharp decline in foreign exchange reserves.

But inflation has fallen sharply since June, partly due to the statistical base effect, but also helped by a stronger rupee currency, and better harvests.

“Despite an increase in electricity prices last month, we expect inflation to end the year at about 5%,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Research.

“The impact from price adjustments is not expected to be severe and inflation is likely to remain within the central bank targets.”

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), which has targeted inflation within a band of 4% to 6%, will announce on Friday its last policy rate decision for this year.

Sri Lanka secured a staff level agreement on the first review of its $2.9-billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month.

But approval from the global lender’s executive board has been delayed as the island nation holds debt restructuring talks with bilateral creditors and bondholders.