CAIRO (Reuters) - Sudan's annual inflation rate inched closer to 50 percent in February, data showed on Thursday, reflecting a deep economic crisis that has consigned most of the country's population to poverty.Inflation rose to 47.9 percent from 46.8 percent in February, driven by food costs, which make up 52.9 percent of the index and rose 2.6 percent on the month, the central statistical bureau said.Inflation picked up sharply in Sudan after South Sudan seceded in July 2011, taking three-quarters of its oil output. The annual rate was 15 percent in June 2011, the last data prior to the south's independence.Discontent over rising food prices and cuts to fuel subsidies have led to protests against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over the last year, though the country has avoided the mass unrest of the Arab Spring that unseated rulers in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.Oil revenues had contributed the bulk of Sudan's state income and the foreign currency it needs to support the Sudanese pound and pay for key imports like wheat and sugar.In June, Sudan cut back fuel subsidies as part of austerity measures to try to plug a budget deficit.Sudan's economy should improve in the next few after it agreed with landlocked South Sudan last month to resume cross-border oil exports, for which Juba has to pay in dollars to use a northern terminal.On Wednesday, Finance Ali Mahmoud told Reuters Sudan hoped to collect up to $1.2 billion in oil transit fees from South Sudan in 2013. .The African state may also have to raise the official 4.42 rate of the Sudanese pound against the dollar to match black market rates, he said. The pound has more than halved in value since the country split.South Sudan shut down its entire output of 350,000 barrels per day in a row with Khartoum over oil fees last year.
Posted on Thursday, 04 April 2013 10:59
April 4, 2013, 1:00 pm