South Sudan inflation eases to 43%

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South Sudan's annual inflation eased to 43.3 percent in August from 60.9 percent in July as food costs eased slightly, official data showed on Tuesday.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 under a 2005 peace agreement with its former civil war foe but has been struggling to tackle an economic crisis and contain tribal and rebel violence undermining development.

Inflation had been on the rise since landlocked South Sudan shut down its oil production in January to protest against seizures of its oil by Sudan through which it needs to export its crude.

Oil makes up 98 percent of state revenues in one of the world's least developed countries.

Month-on-month inflation was unchanged in August compared to July, the National Bureau of Statistics said in its monthly bulletin.

Costs for food and non-alcoholic beverages fell by 1.2 percent in August compared to July, the data showed. But the cost for housing and water rose by 30.7 percent in August.

Food makes up 71.39 percent of the inflation basket.

Some analysts have said actual inflation is higher than the official figures.

The South Sudanese pound has sharply fallen since oil revenues dried up. But it recently regained some ground after the central bank signed a $100 million agreement with Qatar National Bank to help fund imports.

South Sudan needs to import most of its food as it has no sizeable industry outside the oil sector.

Violence on both sides of the Sudan border has hampered trade with Sudan, from where much of the South's needs used to come from, especially food supplies.

South Sudan reached an oil deal with Sudan last month but it is unclear when production will resume as Khartoum wants to reach a border security deal first. Talks between the two countries are currently ongoing in Ethiopia. - Reuters

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