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Sudan central bank refuses to reveal its foreign exchange reserves

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May 1, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudan Central Bank has declined to disclose how much it has in foreign reserves but nonetheless said that it is at "comfortable levels".

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Sudan Central Bank HQ in Khartoum

The pro-government AL-Rayaam newspaper quoted the deputy bank governor Badr Al-Deen Abbas as saying that the country’s reserves levels is improving particularly in light of recent improvements in revenues from oil exports and other petroleum products.

Sudan does not regularly publish reports showing its foreign currency reserves.

Last year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report saying that Sudan had a sharp drop in foreign exchange reserves across the years from $2 billion in mid-2008 to $300 million in March 2009, which covers only 2 weeks of imports for the East African nation.

The IMF said this was caused by the fall in oil prices, which is Sudan’s main export, and the “heavy” intervention by the central bank to sustain the exchange rate.

The fast depletion in foreign reserves has prompted Sudan’s central bank last month to impose a cap on the amount of hard currency available to individuals travelling abroad.

Badr al-Deen told Al-Rayaam that the dollar exchange rate fluctuations are due to increased activity of brokers noting that the price of the dollar in the black market was 2.67 pounds compared to 2.36 pounds in the banks and exchanges.

Omar Abdullah - president of the union for foreign currency exchange groups said that the central bank is pumping currency which helped stabilize its prices. He pointed out to the controls in place for travelers who cannot but hard currency from official market unless they show their visas on the passports to deter traders from using it in the black market.

(ST)

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