Sudan: Pound hits record low, bread shortage

Amid the high cooking gas prices, people in El Gedaref and Kassala suffer from a severe bread shortage, and the Sudanese pound hit a record low against the US Dollar in the black market.

Amid the high cooking gas prices, people in El Gedaref and Kassala states suffer from a severe bread shortage. They have to line up in long queues in front of bakeries. “Most people do not get bread at all.”

A resident told Radio Dabanga that a number of bakeries have laid down their work because of the lack of flour and the increase of the cooking gas prices. The Sudanese government lifted subsidies on 25 January, and as the Bakeries’ Union predicted, bread prices started to increase, too.

Also people in Kassala State complained about the shortage of flour and the price rise of cylinders of cooking gas. “A cylinder costs SDG150 ($24.60) in the black markets,” a listener reported. The government's threefold increase of the national price influenced the black market price, which soared from a 20 ($3.30) to 34 pounds throughout Sudan to at least 75 pounds ($12.30).

The Sudanese pound hit a record  low against foreign currencies in the parallel market: SDG12 for 1 US Dollar

Last week, almost all bakeries closed in Rabak, White Nile State, because of the flour shortage. The Bakeries’ Union pointed to an acute scarcity of flour in a number of districts in the Sudanese capital. “But this will end soon, as the Seen Flour Mills has distributed flour to the bakeries the past couple of days.”

In this context, the Sudanese pound hit a record low against foreign currencies as the price of 1 US Dollar has amounted to SDG12 in the black market transactions. It jumped to 11.6 pounds on 18 January. Traders said that it was the first time the pound has reached such a low value. Several of them pointed to the increasing demand for the Dollar by companies, particularly those working in the field of importing medicines. The official US Dollar rate remains fixed at SDG6.1.

Water stalled in Khartoum

In Khartoum State, residents in the Khartoum North areas have complained of the continued interruption of drinking water supply for nearly a week without the water authorities’ addressesing the problem. They demanded the Governor of Khartoum to intervene.