Sudan inflation hits 37 percent, food costs soar
KHARTOUM, July 10 (Reuters) - Sudan's annual inflation jumped to 37.2 percent in June from 30.4 percent in May, reflecting soaring prices for basic food items and transport after the government scaled back fuel subsidies to plug a budget gap, official statistics showed.
The Arab-African country has avoided the sort of mass unrest that overthrew rulers in Egypt and Tunisia last year, but small anti-government protests have gathered pace since the government announced austerity measures late last month. Authorities have put the protests down swiftly using police and teargas.
Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil output when South Sudan became independent a year ago. Oil revenues were the main source of state income and dollar inflows, needed to pay for imports as Sudan produces little on its own.
Inflation was 15 percent in June 2011.
Month-on-month inflation was 9.7 percent last month, the Central Statistics Office said in its monthly bulletin.
The cost of sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and other sweets rose by 12.5 percent in June compared to May, the data showed. Meat prices rose by 11.9 percent, while the cost of vegetables went up by 11.1 percent.
Transport costs also rose, the bulletin said, without giving a figure.
The central bank also devalued the Sudanese pound to bridge the gap with the black market rate and make exports such as agricultural products cheaper. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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