ECONOMYNEXT – The price of a cup of milk tea in Sri Lanka shot up by 100 rupees on Sunday (20) after importers raised milk powder prices the previous day.

Media reports quoting All Island Canteen Owners Association President Asela Sampath said the price of a cup of milk tea was increased taking into consideration rising prices of essential commodities including sugar.

Milk tea — a mix of hot, strong tea with powdered milk and usually sugar — is a favourite beverage in Sri Lanka consumed by nearly all socioeconomic demographics.

The price of milk powder, an essential commodity in Sri Lanka, shot up by 250 rupees and 600 rupees per 400g and 1kg pack respectively on Saturday.

According to the Milk Powder Importers’ Association, a 400g pack will now be sold at 790 rupees while a 1kg pack will be sold at 1,945 rupees.

Milk powder is widely consumed in Sri Lanka in place of fresh milk and is recognised as an essential food item. However, the prevailing economic crisis had led to shortages in imported milk powder leading to long queues for the product, with importers demanding a price hike amid an artificially pegged foreign exchange regime.

The last milk powder price revision was in December 2021 — 400g by 60 rupees and 1kg by 150 rupees — but importers had persisted in their demand for a steeper increase claiming that it wasn’t enough.

Sri Lanka is currently going through one of the worst economic crises in its history and, though the currency has been floated, the prevailing dollar shortage continues to see queues across the island for essentials including fuel. (Colombo/Mar20/2022)