(Updates with comment by central bank official in third paragraph.)
Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Sudan boosted gold exports to offset the loss of oil production when South Sudan seceded in July and ensure it has sufficient foreign-currency reserves, central bank Vice President Badr Eddin Abbas said.
The North African country’s reserves currently stand at $10 billion, enough to cover four months worth of imports, Abbas told reporters today in Khartoum, the capital. Sudan experienced a “sharp shortage” of foreign currency after the loss of oil revenue when South Sudan seceded, the Sudan Tribune news website reported on Nov. 1.
“It’s not true that Sudan has a shortage in foreign currency,” Abbas said. “Although we haven’t received any oil fees from the south, we’ve compensated this by increasing the exports of gold.”
Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil production, the third- biggest output in sub-Saharan Africa, when South Sudan gained independence on July 9. Protests were held in September and October against the country’s rising cost of living and worsening economic conditions.
Sudan produced 1,922 kilograms (61,794 ounces) of gold in 2009, compared with 2,276 kilograms a year earlier, according to data published on the website of the U.S. Geological Survey. Revenue from the metal may increase to $3 billion this year from about $70 million in 2010, al-Tayar, a Khartoum-based newspaper, reported on Sept. 18.
Non-petroleum exports increased 22 percent in the third quarter of 2011 from the same period last year, Abbas said, without providing further information.
Sudan’s budget deficit may narrow to 3.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 from 4.4 percent this year, according to a document presented to the nation’s parliament by Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud Abdel Rasoul today in Khartoum, the capital.
--Editors: Paul Richardson, Emily Bowers.
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