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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
COVID-19 severely hit the economy, causing a loss of tourism receipts and necessitating several strict lockdowns. Pre-pandemic tax cuts and the impact of COVID-19 led to fiscal deficits larger than 10 percent of GDP in 2020 and 2021 and a rapid increase in public debt to 119 percent of GDP in 2021. Sri Lanka’s access to international capital markets was lost in 2020, prompting a decline of international reserves to critically low levels and large-scale direct lending to the government by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). External debt repayments and a widening current account deficit have led to foreign exchange (FX) shortages, while the official exchange rate has been de facto fixed since April 2021. Inflation is on the rise, reaching double digits in December 2021, reflecting imported inflation, supply shocks, and a pickup in domestic demand amid loose monetary policy.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Economic activity has rebounded strongly on the back of waning COVID-19 infections and expansionary fiscal and monetary policies. However, strong import growth—fueled by the macroeconomic policy mix, higher international commodity prices, and credit growth—have led to a marked deterioration of the external position. The current account deficit has widened, the rupee depreciated markedly, and inflation remains persistently high.
Ms. Mercedes Garcia-Escribano, Ms. Tewodaj Mogues, Marian Moszoro, and Mauricio Soto