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| 20 November, 2017

Sudan's pound rallies against dollar on black market- traders

A man counts notes after receiving the new Sudanese currency at a Central Bank of Sudan branch in Khartoum.

A man counts notes after receiving the new Sudanese currency at a Central Bank of Sudan branch in Khartoum.

REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

The central bank holds the official exchange rate at 6.7 pounds to the dollar.

KHARTOUM- Sudan's currency strengthened on the black market on Monday to 24 pounds to the U.S. dollar from 27 pounds last week, traders said, driven by speculation over possible government measures to stabilize the exchange rate.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will meet the finance minister, central bank governor and other senior officials on Monday to discuss the Sudanese pound amid high demand for foreign currency following the U.S. decision last month to lift two-decade-old trade sanctions.

The central bank holds the official exchange rate at 6.7 pounds to the dollar, but in recent weeks the currency has rapidly dropped to record lows

The import-dependent country has suffered both from the sanctions and from the secession of the south in 2011, when it lost three-quarters of its oil output, its main source of foreign currency.

The Minister of State for Finance, Magdi Hassan Yassin, told Reuters last week the country was taking steps to close the gap between its official and unofficial currency rates and scrap subsidies by end-2019 to win foreign investment.

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The cheap pound has contributed to surging inflation, which reached 35.13 percent in September year-on-year, up from 34.61 percent in August, according to the Central Statistics Office.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Patrick Markey and Andrew Heavens) ((Nadine.Awadalla@thomsonreuters.com;))