March 13, 2018 / 5:06 PM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Dollar-hungry Sudan gets $1.4 bln deposit from UAE

(Adds black market currency rate, context)

By Khalid Abdelaziz

KHARTOUM, March 13 (Reuters) - Sudan’s central bank has received a $1.4 billion deposit from the United Arab Emirates, state news agency SUNA reported on Tuesday, helping to shore up its meagre foreign exchange reserves.

Sudan has suffered an acute shortage of hard currency in recent months, hurting imports and largely limiting dollar trading to the black market.

The deposit was provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, SUNA said.

The central bank does not disclose the size of its foreign reserves.

In recent months it has attempted to restore dollar flows to the official banking system, with two steep devaluations since January, first to 18 pounds per dollar from 6.7 and then to 31.5 last month, along with a ban on dollar deposits from the black market.

Those moves have helped reverse the currency’s free fall. After a hitting an unofficial low of about 40 to the dollar last month, the pound has strengthened, hovering around 32 pounds on Tuesday just after news of the UAE deposit, according to black market traders.

Sudan’s economy has been struggling since the south of the country seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of its oil output.

The United States lifted 20-year-old sanctions against Khartoum in October, fanning hopes that Sudan could draw foreign investment again and get its economy back on track. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz Writing by Eric Knecht; editing by John Stonestreet)

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