Purchasing power continues to weaken in Sudan
While the Sudanese government is involved with the normalisation of relations with the international community, following USA’s lifting of its economic sanctions against Sudan in December last year, the household purchasing power continues to weaken.
The hard currency rates on the Khartoum parallel market continued its rapid rise on Thursday. Forex dealers reported on Thursday that the selling price of the US Dollar recorded SDG 280, compared to SDG 273 on Wednesday. The Euro sold for SDG 340.
According to the dealers, the main reason for the continued decline of the Sudanese Pound is the severe scarcity of hard currency supply and the still increasing demand.
The soaring hard currency rates, in addition to the 400 per cent increase in fuel prices three months ago and the recent 500 per cent increase in power tariffs, have led to continued increases in the prices of consumer goods.
Yesterday, El Sudani newspaper reported an increase of 15-20 per cent in food prices, “most notably sugar, milk and oils” at the markets in Khartoum in the past two weeks. Traders attribute the increase to the high exchange rates.
A wholesale sugar trader at the Grand Market of Omdurman said that the number of customers has decreased significantly, “despite the abundance of the commodity”. He is selling a 50-kilogram sack of sugar for SDG 8,200, while the sugar companies follow the forex rates, and have now set the price at SDG 8,350.
Because of the extremely high food prices and below-average household purchasing power, the number of households facing acute food insecurity will remain high, particularly among displaced people, refugees, and urban poor households,” the Sudan Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reported in its Sudan outlook update of December last year.
In November last year, Sudan’s Minister of Energy and Mining, warned of the side effects of continued fall of the Sudanese Pound against the Dollar. The rise in foreign currency rates must be considered as a serious threat to the government’s policy of rationalising fuel subsidies, he said.
Economic experts and researchers in the field of economics earlier this month renewed their criticism of the policies adopted by the transitional government to address the continuing economic crisis in the country, and demanded transparent, structural reforms.
The annual inflation rate for December recorded 269.33 per cent compared to 254.34 in November. Sudan suffers from one of the highest inflation rates in the world. Economists say it could turn into hyperinflation unless the country controls its budget deficit and money supply.
The Sudanese government and partners are reportedly considering a change of the Sudanese currency.
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