Sudan inflation rose to 21.3 pct in February
Reuters, Sunday 18 Mar 2012
Spiralling food costs, high unemployment and a devalued currency are adding to Khartoum's woes

Sudan's annual inflation rate climbed to 21.3 per cent in February, from 19.3 per cent in January, as costs for food items such as bread and meat rose, official data showed.

The African country is battling an economic crisis and analysts have said high food price inflation could stoke dissent against a background of high unemployment, a devalued local currency and U.S. trade sanctions.

Inflation has more than doubled since the government effectively devalued the Sudanese pound in November 2010 to curb black market activity - a measure that had no success.

Month-on-month inflation was 1.9 per cent in February, the Central Statistics Office said in its monthly bulletin.

The cost of food rose 2.1 per cent in February compared with January. Bread costs rose 5.7 per cent, while meat went up by 3.6 per cent. Fruit costs fell 9.8 per cent.

Sudan lost three quarters of its oil output of around 490,000 barrels per day when South Sudan became independent in July. Oil made up 90 per cent of the country's exports until then.

The landlocked new African nation needs to pay Sudan for exporting crude through its pipelines to a Red Sea port, but the countries have failed to agree on a fee.

South Sudan shut down its output in January to protest against Sudan taking oil as compensation for what it called unpaid fees.