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KHARTOUM, May 20 (Reuters) – The Sudanese central bank is launching a foreign currency auction system as part of its flexible but managed flotation of the Sudanese pound, it said Thursday.

The new system, which would only apply to importers, comes as official and black market rates began to widen slightly over the past month after being aligned by a devaluation in February.

“It is still too early to judge the results of macroeconomic policy, including the unification of the exchange rate,” the bank said in a statement.

On Thursday, one dollar brought in 420 Sudanese pounds on the black market, against the official rate of nearly 410 Sudanese pounds.

Currency traders say part of the reason for enlargement is that importers resort to the black market when banks are unable to supply enough foreign exchange.

The first auction is expected to take place next week, a prominent central bank source told Reuters, adding that the policy should increase supply for importers and restore exchange rate stability.

The purchased foreign currency must be used for the purpose declared in the auction, according to a central bank circular, and the minimum entry amount was $ 20,000 per customer of the bank.

Government officials said in February that there would be restrictions on imports of unnecessary products in an attempt to reduce the country’s trade deficit, but specific restrictions were not announced.

Sudanese banks and foreign exchange bureaus have bought foreign currency worth $ 1.2 billion since a devaluation in February, the statement said. The total amount “used to meet various customer needs” was equivalent to $ 760 million, he said.

An electronic system allowing all market players to exchange currencies will soon be put in place, he added. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Written by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Richard Chang)


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