February 24, 2013 (KHARTOUM) –Sudanese authorities on Sunday detained more than ten alleged black market currency traders in a fresh bid to halt the nosedive of the country’s pound against the United States dollar and other major currencies.
- FILE - A man counts notes after receiving the new Sudanese currency at a central bank branch in Khartoum July 24, 2011 (REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
The arrests were carried out by a team from the economic division at the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) who swept through downtown Khartoum and surrounding neighborhoods.
As a result, downtown Khartoum appeared emptied from currency traders who normally filled its streets amid big shortage in hard currency.
"The operation has resulted in curbing the dollar prices which stood at 7 pounds because the continuation of the parallel market would have drove the dollar to 10 pounds in a short period of time" a trader told Sudan Tribune on condition of anonymity.
Today the dollar was selling for 7.7 pounds while the Saudi Riyal traded at 1.8 pounds.
The official rate stands at around 4.4 to the dollar.
Khartoum is under pressure to preserve the eroding value of its currency in the wake of the secession of the oil-rich South Sudan in July 2011.
Oil was not only the main source for state revenues but also for dollars needed to fund imports.
Because banks and Forex bureaus are unable to supply enough dollars, the black market rate is seen as the benchmark for the real market value of the pound.
Late last year Sudanese authorities started rounding up currency traders after the central bank announced that it will prosecute anyone dealing in the black market.