Sri Lanka consumer prices rise by 2.3% in December keeping 12-month inflation at 19.3%

December 29, 2006 (LBO) – Consumer prices in Sri Lanka rose by 2.3 percent in December, keeping 12-month inflation at 19.3 percent, the Census & Statistics Department said Friday.

In the 12-months to November, inflation hit a ten year high of 19.8 percent, when the index rose by 4.4 percent in the preceding 30 days.

On a 12-month moving average, Sri Lanka’s annual inflation rate rose to 13.7 percent in December, compared with 12.7 percent in November.

The government uses a 12-month moving average as the official figure for inflation.

Census department said a short supply of most locally produced food items for the festive season pushed prices up.

The consumer price index was at 5114.1in December from 4998.4 in November, a jump of 2.3 percent, the census department said.

The inflation data were below market expectations, with analysts expecting a slight acceleration to around 14.0 percent.

The government cut import duties of several items in the food basket in December including potatoes, wheat flour and rice, in a bid to push down food prices.

The census department said the price of potatoes went down.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Gover