Sri Lanka has closed schools and halted all non-essential government services, beginning a two-week shutdown to conserve fast-depleting fuel reserves as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) opened talks with Colombo on a possible bailout.
The country is in the grip of its worst economic crisis after running out of dollars to finance even the most essential imports, including fuel.
The country defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and went cap-in-hand to the IMF.
Sri Lanka is facing record-high inflation and lengthy power blackouts, all of which have contributed to months of protests
The country’s headline inflation surged to a record in May as consumer prices in the capital Colombo rose 39.1% from a year ago, the Department of Census and Statistics said in a statement.
The data showed that food inflation surged 57.4%, while prices of non-food items jumped 30.6%.
The country, battling its worst economic crisis since independence, needs $4 billion in emergency funds this year but a deal with the International Monetary Fund for rapid aid remains still in the works.