October 1, 2018 / 9:46 PM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia makes $200 mln grant to Yemen central bank -state media

(Adds details, context)

DUBAI, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s King Salman announced a donation of $200 million to Yemen’s central bank on Tuesday, state news agency SPA reported, in an effort to help shore up the weak Yemeni currency.

Yemen has been divided by more than three years of civil war between the internationally recognised government, backed by Riyadh and based in the south, and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement that controls the north, including the capital Sanaa.

Its currency, the riyal, has lost more than half its value against the U.S. dollar and soaring prices have put some basic commodities out of reach for many Yemenis.

“This grant will contribute, in addition to previous deposits to the Yemeni Central Bank totalling $3 billion, to easing the economic burden on the brotherly Yemeni people,” the SPA report said.

Based in the southern port city of Aden, Yemen’s central bank has struggled to pay the public sector salaries on which many Yemenis depend, amid dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

It nearly doubled its interest rate last month in an effort to stabilise the riyal, following violent demonstrations in southern cities against the plunging currency.

The conflict has unleashed a humanitarian and economic crisis on the impoverished country. A deadly cholera epidemic erupted last year, and the United Nations has said that Yemen could face one of the deadliest famines of modern times.

Reporting by Stephen Kalin Editing by Leslie Adler and Rosalba O'Brien

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