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Sudanese officials say Forex deposits received from Arab Gulf states

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April 23, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has disclosed that Arab Gulf states have made deposits with the central bank that should help it improve the situation of the pound relative to major currencies in the black market.

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Sudanese finance minister Badr al-Din Mahmoud

“The vanguards and the beginnings of these deposits [have started to trickle] into the central bank account," Sudanese finance minister Badr al-Din Mahmoud said on Monday.

The Sudanese investment minister Mustafa Osman Ismail on Wednesday said those deposits will reflect positively on the investment climate generally and on the Sudanese pound in particular.

Neither officials revealed the donor nations or the amounts deposited.

Over the last few years Sudanese officials have frequently made similar announcements on Forex infusions from abroad without offering any details.

This has led many observers to accuse the government of deliberately feeding false news on Forex receipts in a bid to scare the black market into selling its Forex holdings to ease pressure on the local currency.

This month, the Saudi ambassador in Sudan Faisal bin Hamed al-Mualla denied that his country provided any cash assistance to Khartoum.

This was in response to media reports that Riyadh deposited $4 billion in Sudan’s central bank in an apparent reward to Khartoum’s position regarding Yemen.

Sudan also withholds information on its Forex reserves but asserts that it covers three months of imports.

“The international reserve is always evaluated in terms of months of imports. Now the Central Bank has about three months reserve of foreign currency and we are trying to build more reserves. Our import bill is $7-8 billion. You can calculate after that,” the finance minister told the TIME magazine this week in an interview.

The most recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows projections of $2.1 billion in reserves for 2015 that covers 2 months of imports.

Sudan has been struggling to contain the drop in its currency value since oil-rich south seceded in 2011 which has pushed inflation to record levels.

One US dollar trades for approximately 9.2 Sudanese pound on the black market compared to an official rate of between 5.80-6.29.

(ST)

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