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Saturday, 19 September 2020

Sudan pound jumps on black market on hope of dollar influx

AFP , Sunday 21 Apr 2019
A Bank of Khartoum branch in Khartoum (Reuters)
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The Sudanese pound surged on the black market Sunday on expectations that the ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir would trigger fresh dollar inflows and ease a foreign currency shortage.

In recent years Sudan has been hit by an acute lack of dollars, which became a key factor behind the nationwide protests that led to the toppling of Bashir by the army this month.

Since his ouster the pound has steadily strengthened on the black market, and on Sunday it jumped to 45 per dollar against 72 last week.

The official exchange rate is 47.5 pounds to the dollar.

"Many people who had dollars are coming to exchange them for Sudanese pounds," a black market trader said on condition of anonymity.

"They feel that more dollars will come, which will strengthen the pound further."

Another black market trader said: "Since Saturday, I had 20 people coming to my shop asking for pounds. Nobody wants dollars."

Sudanese media reports that Saudi Arabia is expected to send aid to Sudan have also boosted the pound.

The Sudanese currency had plunged since the United States lifted its 20-year-old trade embargo on the country in October 2017.

Expectations that the end of US sanctions would bring an economic recovery failed to materialise, putting pressure on the long-suffering pound.

The country's economic crisis has deepened since the secession of South Sudan in 2011 that took away the bulk of oil earnings.

The shortage of foreign currency made it difficult even to import vital medicines.

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