The cost of local food basket continues to increase – WFP Market Monitor
The average cost of local food basket in Sudan sharply increased by 20 per cent from January 2021 to February 2021, according to the February 2021 issue of the World Food Programme (WFP) Market Monitor for Sudan. While the percentage increases every month, this is the highest spike in recent months, according to WFP.
This increase is in line with the continuously increasing inflation, which hit 330 per cent in February from 304 per cent in January and close to 270 per cent in December 2020, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Food and beverage prices continued to rise, causing inflation to continue to rise from the record high of 300 per cent for the second month in a row, CBS reported.
Last month, the Central Bank of Sudan announced a new policy of flexible management of the exchange rate to unify the official and parallel market rates, setting the indicative rate at 375 SDG to the US dollar from the previous rate of 55 SDG. During first three weeks of February, the exchange rate varied between 350 and 400 SDG per dollar on the parallel market. Due to the exchange rate policy change, the already high inflation rate will face further upward pressure at least for short to medium term, increasing the prices of commodities, including staple food. This will erode the purchasing power of the population and may lead to further food insecurity and economic vulnerability.
On the positive side, there was an improvement in the casual labor wage-daily rate, which increased by 14 per cent in February 2021 compared to the previous month. This could improve the purchasing power of people and mitigate the impact of high food prices, WFP said.
In February 2021, the average national retail price of wheat flour in areas where WFP operates was 242.75 SDG per kg, an increase of 36.17 per cent compared to January 2021. This is mainly due to the deterioration in the Sudanese currency during January and February 2021, as Sudan depends on the importation of wheat (70-80 percent of its needs).
The average national retail price of sorghum reached 97.33 SDG per kg in February 2021, an increase of 4.9 per cent compared to January 2021. This increase is due to the inflationary increase in the cost of production and transportation, in addition to the current high demand as the harvest from the previous seasons were depleted earlier. Sorghum prices are expected to slightly increase during the coming month.
For more information and details please see the February 2021 WFP Market Monitor – Sudan.