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Bangladesh anger over fuel prices echoes Sri Lanka, Pakistan

Political pressure mounts as nation joins neighbors in seeking IMF aid

Protesters carry traditional kerosene lanterns during a demonstration against fuel price increases in Dhaka. Kerosene now costs the equivalent of about $1.20 per liter, versus 84 cents before hikes on several types of fuel. (Photo by Mahmud Hossain Opu)

DHAKA -- Pressure is building on Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government, as fuel price rises send shock waves through the population with a little more than a year until the next election. While officials in Dhaka insist the economy is not in dire straits, there are eerie echoes of the problems seen in Bangladesh's South Asian neighbors, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

At the beginning of August, Bangladesh raised fuel prices by 40% to 50% across the board. The hikes have had a domino effect on other essentials, including edible oils, rice, eggs and vegetables, all of which now cost 10% to 20% more. Public bus fares have risen by as much as 22%, while waterway transport operators have asked the government to approve a 50% increase in ticket prices.

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