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Sri Lanka Crisis: How did we get here?

Sri Lanka has been facing balance-of-payment issues since the 1950s, and has bridged the gap between imports and exports through dollars earned from borrowing, tourism and remittances from foreign workers.

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After being elected in 2019, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa slashed taxes, which deprived the state of much-needed income.

This led rating agencies to downgrade Sri Lankaís credit ratings, which made it harder for Sri Lanka to borrow from international capital markets.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, earnings from foreign tourists and remittances plummeted. Economists warned that Sri Lanka might not be able to repay its foreign debt and urged the government to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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During 2022, inflation in Sri Lanka skyrocketed to almost 55 percent. Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said that inflation could rise to 70 percent in the coming months.

 
The growing economic crisis started a series of protests that began on March 31 and that culminated in the storming of the presidentís residence on July 9.

 

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July 11, 2022

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