KHARTOUM- Sudan exported goods worth $2.53 billion in the first half of the year, up 68% from the same period last year, the central bank said on Monday, describing the amount as "insufficient" compared to an import bill of $4.16 billion.
Sudan is in the midst of a deep economic crisis and the government is pushing for increased exports, particularly from agriculture, to pull the country out, along with foreign aid and investment.
The largest export was gold, of which Sudan exported 16.7 tonnes, worth about $1 billion, the central bank data showed, almost all of it to the United Arab Emirates.
Most of the gold produced in Sudan is smuggled, a practice the government has said it is tackling, and the data showed an increase in exports of about 250%.
Other major exports were peanuts, sesame and livestock.
Sudan has run a wide trade deficit ranging between $4 billion to more than $6 billion since the secession of oil-producing South Sudan in 2011.
The lack of foreign reserves has lead to shortages of crucial medicines and lines for fuel and bread, as well as power outages in recent years.
In the first half of the year, Sudan was able to import wheat worth $239 million, petroleum products worth $215 million, and medicines worth $236 million.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Dan Grebler) ((Nafisa.Eltahir@thomsonreuters.com;))