Sudan inflation eases to 44.4 pct in Dec, first fall in a year

KHARTOUM Wed Jan 9, 2013 3:28pm EST

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KHARTOUM Jan 9 (Reuters) - Sudan's annual inflation rate eased to 44.4 percent in December from 46.5 percent in November, state news agency SUNA said on Wednesday, the first fall in a year.

Prices have soared in the African country since South Sudan seceded in July 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country's oil output.

Oil exports had been the main source for the public spending and foreign currency, which Sudan needs to support the Sudanese pound and pay for food and other imports.

Month-on-month inflation rose by 1.6 percent, SUNA said, citing official data. The cost of food and beverages, the biggest component in the index, rose by 2 percent in December compared to November, it said.

SUNA did not explain the anomaly the two rates.

Annual inflation had been on the rise since January 2012 as the pound's slide accelerated.

Sudan cut back fuel subsidies and took other austerity measures in June to try to plug a budget deficit. The move led to a series of small anti-government demonstrations, but they mostly petered out after a security crackdown.

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