Amidst Soaring Food Prices, Sudan's Currency Rate Slashed at 47.5 Against the Dollar

Published October 8th, 2018 - 05:28 GMT
It was unclear whether the latest devaluation was part of a move to float the pound as recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to curb the wide disparity between the official and unofficial rates that had severely impacted the African country's economy. (Shutterstock)
It was unclear whether the latest devaluation was part of a move to float the pound as recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to curb the wide disparity between the official and unofficial rates that had severely impacted the African country's economy. (Shutterstock)

Sudan slashed the official value of its currency by more than half against the dollar on Sunday, the third devaluation this year in the face of a mounting economic crisis.

The move came just weeks after President Omar Al Bashir replaced the government over its failure to curb economic woes including soaring food prices.

The central bank pegged the Sudanese pound at 47.5 against the dollar. Previously the official rate was 28 to the dollar, while the currency had fallen to 45.50 on the black market last week.

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Last week the central bank said a committee would look into the acute shortage of foreign currency that is weighing on the pound.

"The committee decided that today's rate is 47.5 Sudanese pound to a dollar," Abbas Abdallah, a member of the committee and head of the bankers union, said. "The committee will now announce the market rate daily."

At the end of last year the official rate stood at 6.7 Sudanese pounds to the dollar.

It was unclear whether the latest devaluation was part of a move to float the pound as recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to curb the wide disparity between the official and unofficial rates that had severely impacted the African country's economy.

Sudan has struggled to boost its foreign currency reserves since the south split from the north in 2011, taking with it the bulk of the country's oil revenues.

A much-awaited economic revival also failed to materialise after Washington lifted its decades-old sanctions in October 2017.

Despite the IMF's recommendation, Sudan has been wary of allowing the currency to float freely on the foreign exchange market, fearing that it might trigger unrest.

Protests erupted in January after the authorities cut wheat subsidies, but they were quickly curbed by security forces.

Food prices have more than doubled since then on the back of surging inflation that stands at nearly 70 per cent.


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