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Dollar rate rising again on Sudan’s parallel market

May 13 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Sudanese queue up to draw money from an ATM in Khartoum, May 9, 2019 (Ashraf El Shazli/AFP)
Sudanese queue up to draw money from an ATM in Khartoum, May 9, 2019 (Ashraf El Shazli/AFP)

On Sunday, the exchange rate of the US Dollar rose to SDG 64 in cash and SDG 75 in cheques.

The price of the Saudi Riyal rose as well, to SDG 17 in cash and SDG 19.5 in cheques.

Traders attributed the rise to the increasing demand for the Dollar.

One of them told Radio Dabanga that hard currency exchange rates are fluctuating these days. “We expect an increase of the SDG rate after the arrival of the Saudi Arabian and UAE's grants in the coming days,” he said.

The cash price is less than the cheque price as the liquidity in Sudan is very low.

Liquidity crisis

Public anger in Sudan has been building up over price rises and other economic hardships, including expensive bread, fuel and medicines, as well as limits on cash withdrawals over a liquidity crisis.

Over the past few months, the value of the Sudanese Pound has dropped steadily against the US Dollar. In December 2018, the Central Bank of Sudan issued a decision to set the limit of cash withdrawals by bank card at ATMs. The recent printing of new currency by the Central Bank of Sudan has been necessitated by hyperinflation, coupled with a chronic shortage of hard cash.

Banks have limited cash withdrawals so traders and the public prefer to keep their cash at home, rather than deposit it into banks.

On April 11, Radio Dabanga reported that a large proportion of ATMs in Khartoum state were out of service for weeks, making it difficult for people to access their salaries.

Financial support

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on April 21 they would provide a joint package of assistance to Sudan amounting to US $ 3 billion, including $ 500 million provided as a deposit in the Central Bank of the Sudan “to strengthen and ease the pressure on the Sudanese Pound and to achieve greater stability in the exchange rate”.

According to a UAE press release at the time, the support came in the wake of the popular uprising that lead to the overthrow of Omar Al Bashir’s presidency on April 11.

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