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Sudan's bread prices double after government cuts wheat subsidies

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Bread prices in Sudan have doubled, the country’s Bakeries Union said on Friday, a few days after the government eliminated subsidies under its 2018 budget.

The price of one loaf of bread rose from 0.5 Sudanese pounds to 1 pound, the union said, after the prices of wheat flour rose.

The country’s biggest opposition party called for peaceful protests against the new budget, and crowds gathered outside bakeries in Khartoum, expressing frustration against the government’s move.

“The new prices will make us starve to death,” Fatima Ahmed, a housewife said while buying bread. “The government doesn’t care about us. Our conditions are harsh ... We won’t be able to endure more.”

Sudan’s government has begun a series of economic reforms in line with International Monetary Fund recommendations aimed at putting the country’s ailing economy back on track.

State Minister for Finance Magdi Hassan Yaseen told Reuters late last month that the competition between companies importing wheat would prevent such an increase in the prices.

The government would buy locally produced wheat at “encouraging prices”, he said.

The country devalued its currency, the pound, to 18 per U.S. dollar, more than double its previous peg of 6.7 pounds to the dollar.

Reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz, writing by Dahlia Nehme, editing by Larry King