The IMF ended 10 days of in-person discussions with Sri Lankan authorities in Colombo on Thursday following the country’s request for a possible bailout.

The CCPI has been setting new monthly highs since October, when year-on-year inflation stood at just 7.6 per cent. In May it reached 39.1 per cent.

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The rupee has lost more than half its value against the US dollar this year.

Private economists say consumer prices are rising even faster than shown in official statistics.

According to an economist at Johns Hopkins University, Steve Hanke, who tracks price increases in the world’s troublespots, Sri Lanka’s current inflation is 128 per cent, second only to Zimbabwe’s 365 per cent.

Faced with an acute energy shortage, Sri Lanka is observing a shutdown of non-essential state institutions for two weeks, along with the closure of schools to reduce commuting.

The country’s 22 million people have been enduring acute shortages of essentials -- including food, fuel and medicines -- for months.

Protests are continuing outside president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office demanding his resignation over the unprecedented economic turmoil and his mismanagement.

Sri Lanka went to the IMF in April after the country defaulted on its $51 billion external debt.

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