Roundup: Sudan registers record trade deficit in 9 months amid deepening economic crisis-Xinhua

Roundup: Sudan registers record trade deficit in 9 months amid deepening economic crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2022-11-04 05:41:15|Editor: huaxia

KHARTOUM, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Sudan has registered a record trade deficit of 3.5 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months this year, amid signs of a deepening economic crisis.

"The deficit in the trade balance reached its highest level during the third quarter of the current fiscal year 2022, recording more than 3.5 billion U.S. dollars," the Central Bank of Sudan (CBOS) said in its newly released quarterly Foreign Trade Statistical Digest.

Sudan's imports of foreign goods from January to September amounted to slightly more than 7.1 billion dollars, while its exports dropped to the lowest level of about 3.6 billion dollars, it added.

Ali Ismail, a Sudanese economic analyst, said there is almost a constant deficit in the trade balance in Sudan.

"For many years, the trade balance did not achieve a surplus because of the problem of decline in exports and increased imports," Ismail told Xinhua.

He said the problem of weak exports should be blamed on more than one party, with the state, producers and exporters all responsible for the situation.

Ismail stressed the need to address the issue of weak exports through attracting international companies to increase the production of exported goods at lower costs.

Essam Al-Zain, director of an import and export company in the capital Khartoum, criticized the tax policies for leading to a rise in production cost, "which in turn leads to a rise in the size of imports."

Sudan imports many products that could have been manufactured locally, but its investment has been attracted to neighboring countries because of the low cost of production there, he said.

Sudan imports most of its petroleum, food and medicines from other countries, with gold representing its major export.

To make things worse, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the United States and European countries suspended the flow of more than 8 billion dollars into Sudan in the wake of the state of emergency imposed by the military in October 2021.

The Sudanese government has recently adopted measures including a significant increase in service fees in order to cover the deficit in state budget amid the economic crisis.

Under these government measures, the Sudanese pound's exchange rate was weakened by 26.8 percent from 445 pounds to 564 pounds for one U.S. dollar.

Port fees have also been raised by more than 300 percent, as port floor fees have nearly doubled four times, in addition to an increase in container shipping fees by about 500 percent in some ports.

Sudan has been facing a worsening economic crisis after the United States and international agencies suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the African country in the wake of the imposition of a state of emergency on Oct. 25, 2021 and dissolution of the Sovereign Council.

The United States immediately suspended 700 million dollars in economic aid to Sudan, while a loan of 500 million dollars from the World Bank and 150 million dollars in special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund were also halted.

Sudan's debt relief process under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative of the International Monetary Fund has also been halted.

In fact, Sudan has been facing an economic crisis since the secession of South Sudan in 2011 which cost Sudan 75 percent of its oil revenues.