Sri Lanka fuel prices soar as economy reels
Credits: Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP

Sri Lanka fuel prices soar as economy reels

One of Sri Lanka's biggest fuel suppliers hiked the price of gasoline by nearly 20 percent on Saturday, the second increase in as many weeks, as the country struggles to import oil without dollars.

Lanka IOC, a fuel retailer which accounts for a third of the market, said it raised the petrol price to 303 rupees (just over $1) a litre, up from 254 rupees. Two weeks ago, the company increased the price of gasoline by 25 percent.

The company said the 30 percent depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar and other major currencies this month fuelled the increase.There was no immediate price revision from the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation but its representatives, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP it was almost certain to follow Lanka IOC.

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.

Sri Lanka was in a deep economic crisis when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, reducing foreign worker remittances and crippling the lucrative tourism sector -- a key source of dollars for the economy.

The government imposed a broad import ban in March 2020 to save foreign currency.

Sri Lanka announced earlier this month that it will seek an IMF bailout and talks are expected to open next month in Washington.

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