South Sudan inflation eases to 47.8 per cent in January

Reuters, Monday 6 Feb 2012

Inflation sees month-on-month fall of nearly 20 per cent, but analysts say further hikes are likely after disruptions in oil exports

South Sudan
Prices have soared in South Sudan's volatile northern border regions in 2011, before temporary respite (Photo: Reuters)

South Sudan's annual inflation rate eased to 47.8 per cent in January from 65.6 per cent in December as costs for some food items fell, official data showed on Monday.

South Sudan became independent on July 9 under a 2005 peace agreement with its former civil war foe, Khartoum, but has been struggling to tackle an economic crisis and contain tribal and rebel violence which killed thousands last year.

Analysts say inflation could rise in the months ahead after landlocked South Sudan shut down its oil production last month to protest against seizures of its oil by Sudan through which it needs to export its crude.

Oil makes up 98 per cent of state revenues in one of the world's least developed countries. Annual inflation had hit 78.8 per cent in November.

Month-on-month inflation rose 0.1 per cent in January compared to a decline of 0.7 per cent in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said in its monthly bulletin.

Costs for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 40.6 per cent in January compared to 57.4 per cent in December, the data showed. But the cost for household goods rose by 111 percent in January compared to 99.9 per cent in December.

The United Nations has warned the underdeveloped new nation faces severe food shortages this year because it will produce less than half what is needed in 2011 due to heavy rain and widespread violence.

Violence on both sides of the joint border has hampered trade with Sudan, from where much of the South's needs come, especially food supplies to northern regions.

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