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Sri Lanka can’t find cash to pay even one ship for petrol


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(Bloomberg) – Sri Lanka has asked citizens not to queue for petrol as the country about to default has no dollars to pay for a fuel shipment.

“There is a petrol ship in our waters,” Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told parliament on Wednesday. “We don’t have the forex.”

Sri Lanka “hopes” to release the ship “today or tomorrow”, the minister said. The country also owes the same supplier $53 million for a previous shipment of gasoline, he added, without elaborating.

The island nation is in the worst economic downturn of its independent history. Shortages of everything from food to cooking gas have resulted in the fastest inflation in Asia – with prices soaring nearly 30% – and have spilled over into social unrest and political unrest.

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Sri Lankan Default Points to Future Problems for Developing Countries

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – on the job for less than a week – said on Monday the nation is only stocking gasoline for one day and the government is working to get dollars into the open market to also pay for three ships carrying crude and fuel oil. who have anchored in the waters of Sri Lanka.

He said in parliament on Wednesday that the government was in talks with the World Bank to channel some of the $160 million in social assistance towards fuel purchases.

Wijesekera said Sri Lanka’s fuel needs for June are estimated at $530 million, with current gasoline supplies being prioritized for essential services such as ambulances.

The nation currently has ample supplies of diesel fuel, he added.

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This post Sri Lanka can’t find cash to pay even one ship for petrol

was original published at “https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/sri-lanka-cant-find-cash-to-pay-even-one-ship-for-petrol”

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