Sri Lanka's key inflation rate in January accelerated to 6.4% from 4% in December, the statistics department said on Wednesday as prices were driven upwards by bad weather and a tax increase.

The Colombo Consumer Price Index, a leading indicator for broader national prices, tracks inflation in Colombo, Sri Lanka's biggest city.

Food prices rose 3.3% in January from 0.3% in December, the Department of Census and Statistics said in a statement.

Prices for non-food items rose 7.9% in January from 5.8% year-on-year in December.

Sri Lanka increased its Value Added Tax (VAT) from 15% to 18% from the beginning of the year, in an effort to meet government revenue targets set under a $2.9 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.

Food prices were also higher due to heavy rain reducing vegetable harvests.

(Reporting by Uditha Jayasinghe; Editing by Andrew Heavens)