Sri Lankas navy scours the island nations northern waters in search of Indian smugglers hauling boatloads of turmeric, a staple spice used widely in South Asian cooking. The ultranationalist government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this year added the yellow seasoning to a list of banned imports in a desperate effort to prevent an outflow of precious US dollars.
Meanwhile, the Maldives, to the south-west of Sri Lanka, has imposed limits on the use of dollars by locals to settle their monthly debit and credit card bills. The Bank of Maldives, the largest commercial bank in the regions smallest country, in September set a monthly limit of $250 for each card, widely used by small businesses in the archipelago to pay for imports.
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