Nationwide inflation continued to scale new highs, accelerating to 58.9 per cent last month (June), Census and Statistics Department (CSD) data released yesterday (Thursday) showed.
Consequently, an ordinary family’s living expenses (monthly budget), year on year (YoY) to last month; increased by Rs 27,588.01, CSD data further showed.
Inflation has been hitting record highs since April 2022, by accelerating to 33.8 per cent that month (April), 45.3 per cent in May and now (June 2022) 58.9 per cent.
Prior to the April inflationary figure of 33.8 per cent, the highest ever inflation that the country had recorded was nearly 42 years ago in August 1980 with a figure of 32.50 per cent.
Current inflation is driven by a weak rupee which has depreciated by a record 79 per cent year on year (YoY) as at yesterday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s imprudent decision to ban chemical fertiliser imports which ruined agriculture harvests led by rice and record high money printing. Meanwhile, though the fertiliser ban was subsequently revoked, its revocation came too late to save the island’s agriculture harvests.
Consequently, food inflation soared to a record high 75.8 per cent last month, beating its previous high of 58 per cent established as recently as May 2022, while non food inflation accelerated to 43.6 per cent last month, from its May figure of 34.2 per cent.
Among the main drivers of overall (nationwide) inflation last month were the cost of a family’s rice bill increasing by Rs 3,478.02; vegetables (Rs 1,694.32); milk powder (Rs 1,598.26); costs of housing rent, gas and other fuels including kerosene (Rs 1,484.25); petrol (Rs 1,438.83); eating out like from “kades” (Rs 1,276.41); fresh fish (Rs 1,200.74); high protein Mysore dhal (Rs 920.43); sugar (Rs 878.50); bread (Rs 744.24); health costs (Rs 636.06); diesel (Rs 585.12);clothing and footwear (Rs 532.85); toilet soap (Rs 372.53) and washing soap (Rs 335.31).
By Paneetha Ameresekere