* Sudan suffers from severe currency shortages
* Sudan's pounds up on oil deal with South Sudan
By Khalid Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing
KHARTOUM, April 24 Sudan's currency has risen
around 15 percent on the black market since a deal with South
Sudan to restart oil flows but dealers say the expected inflow
of petrodollars will not end severe hard currency shortages.
There is little trading in the Sudanese pound but its black
market rate against the dollar is watched by foreign firms which
sell products in pounds but often struggle to convert their
revenues into dollars. Companies operating in Sudan include
cellphone operators MTN and Zain, airlines
such as Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, and
Analysts blamed currency losses in the African country for a
32 percent profit drop in fourth quarter profit at Zain, which
is headquartered in Kuwait.
Last month, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to resume oil
exports from the landlocked South, under which Juba will pay in
dollars to use Sudan's export facilities.
Since the news, a dollar has bought between 6 and 6.2
pounds, compared to around 7 previously, black market dealers
said. This is still well above the official rate of
around 4.4 pounds.
"The rise is driven so far only by hope. The central bank
has not pumped any money yet," said one dealer.
Another dealer said the dollar would bounce back once it
became clear that the expected inflows from pipelines and port
fees would not end Sudan's dollar shortages.
Sudan is facing an "agricultural financing crisis" because
it needs $1 billion to import food annually, al-Sahafa newspaper
quoted agricultural minister Abdel Halim al-Mutaafi as saying.
Sudan's economy was thrown into turmoil when South Sudan
took away three-quarters of the formerly united country's oil
output with its secession in July 2011.
As well as being a major source of revenue for Sudan, oil
also provided dollars needed for imports. Annual inflation
almost hit 50 percent in March, up from 15 percent in June 2011,
the last data before southern independence.
The black market rate is also an important indicator of the
mood of the business elite and ordinary people exhausted by
years of economic crises, ethnic conflicts and wars.
Sudan avoided the "Arab Spring" revolts which unseated
rulers in Egypt and Libya but soaring inflation has sparked
small protests against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing; Editing by