Sri Lanka said on Tuesday that it would default on all of its external debt, totaling $51 billion, due to a lack of foreign money for imports, following weeks of economic instability. The decision was regarded by Colombo as a “last resort.”
With regular blackouts and acute food and fuel shortages, the country is undergoing its worst economic collapse since independence.
Sri Lanka’s finance ministry said in a statement that creditors, including foreign governments, have the option of capitalizing any interest payments owing to them starting Tuesday or opting for return in Sri Lankan rupees.
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