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Sudan says forex reserves covers 3 months of imports

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October 25, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The foreign exchange reserves in Sudan are sufficient to cover three months of imports, a senior official in the central bank revealed in an interview.

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Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) ( Photo Reuters)

Speaking to the pro-government al-Rayaam newspaper edition published today, the deputy governor of the Bank of Sudan (BoS) Badr al-Deen Abbas downplayed the recent sharp depreciation in the value of the pound against the dollar and other foreign currencies.

Abbas said that speculators are the ones who artificially boosted the price of the dollar but that the BoS intervention brought it to a more normalized level. He projected further stability in the forex market.

The BoS official said that despite losing 75% of oil reserves after the South’s independence last July, the country can cover for the gap by charging the new state for using oil infrastructure in the north or through non-petroleum exports such as gold.

Sudan’s non-oil exports in the January-September period came to $1.58 billion compared with $1.21 billion for the January-August period in 2010, the central bank said last week. It did not give figures for January-September 2010.

North and South Sudan have failed to agree on how much the South should pay in oil transit fees. Khartoum has initially proposed $32 per barrel which was swiftly rejected by Juba.

The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir warned of resorting to other unspecified options if agreement not reached with south by end of October.

Sudan desperately needs a steady source of hard currency and income to shore up its funding gap.

Abbas stressed that Sudan has enough foreign exchange reserves to cover three months of basic imports of commodities but did not provide a figure. Sudanese officials refuse to disclose the value of forex reserve holdings.

The World Bank figures show that Sudan only had one month worth of forex reserves in 2009 which is the more recent available number.

The statement by the BoS deputy governor are more upbeat than ones made by his boss last month who said that Sudan needs $4 billion in the form of deposits from Arab central banks.

(ST)

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