Cooling inflation in Sri Lanka and Vietnam a priority rather than growth: IMF

April 12, 2008 (LBO) – Though some Asian nations are worried about slower growth in the wake of financial turmoil in the US, countries like Sri Lanka and Vietnam should focus on inflation, a top IMF official said. “I would say Vietnam is a case, inflation is running close to 20 percent. They need to start cooling that off. Dealing with that problem is a priority for them right now,” David Burton, the head of IMF’s Asia Pacific department told reporters in Washington.

“…Sri Lanka is another case where inflation has picked up to 25 percent according to the latest figures, and clearly cooling that off and bringing inflation down is a priority there,” he said after releasing theRegional Economic Outlook report.

All Time Highs

In Sri Lanka inflation is at an all-time high with consumer prices hitting 23.8 percent according to a new Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI-N) in March, the highest since it was created.

An older index showed 28.1 percent topping the 26.1 percent recorded in 1980.

Sri Lanka has tightened monetary policy since January, and most of the 12-month inflation was created in the second half of last year when the country printed 45 billion rupees between May a