Roiled by economic crisis, Sudan to float its currency

Cash-stripped Sudan on Monday announced it will float the country’s currency as economic conditions deteriorate further, some four months after a military coup plunged the African nation into further turmoil.

The Central Bank of Sudan said banks and exchange firms will determine the value of the Sudanese pound based on supply and demand. The central bank governor, Yahai Hussein Ganqoul, said there will be no interference from the central bank.

The move is likely to cause a swift increase in prices of commodities and services in response to a drop in the value of the pound.

Ganqoul said the move is part of a package of reforms that aim to stabilize the exchange rate of the pound. Local media report that the currency has been trading at around 570 Sudanese pounds to the dollar on the black market while its official rate was at just over 445 pounds to $1.

Sudan devalued its currency in February last year, and the exchange rate had been stable, though in recent weeks it spiked on the black market again.

Sudan’s ruling generals have been struggling to stabilize the country following their takeover last October. The coup upended Sudan’s democratic transition after a popular uprising forced the military to remove autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Following the coup, Western governments and world financial institutions suspended their assistance to Sudan in order to pressure the generals to return a civilian-led government.

Sudan has for years struggled with an array of economic woes, including a huge budget deficit and widespread shortages of essential goods and soaring prices of bread and other staples. The country was plunged into an economic crisis when the oil-rich south seceded in 2011 after decades of war, taking with it more than half of public revenues and 95% of exports.

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