By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has raised key interest rates to 14.50% and 15.50% to try to contain inflation that has worsened the country’s economic woes. Price hikes have been a severe blow, especially for the poorest, during the country’s worst economic crisis in memory. The bank said it expects to tighten monetary policy further to fully curb inflation, which rose to nearly 55% in June, while food inflation topped 80%. Sri Lankans have suffered months of acute shortages of essentials such as food, fuel, cooking gas and medicines. The government says negotiations with the IMF for a bailout are difficult because the country is essentially bankrupt.