September 20, 2017 / 5:27 PM / 10 months ago

Sudan inflation accelerates to 34.61 percent in Aug

KHARTOUM, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Sudan’s annual inflation rate rose to 34.61 percent in August from 34.23 percent in July, state news agency SUNA reported on Wednesday, just weeks before the United States is expected to decide whether to lift sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Sudan’s economy has struggled since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country’s oil output, its main source of foreign currency and government income.

But Khartoum is hopeful that a Washington decision to lift 20-year sanctions that have effectively cut it off from global financial markets could help draw in badly needed investment and raise prospects for a recovery.

Former U.S. president Barack Obama temporarily lifted the sanctions for six months in January, suspending a trade embargo, unfreezing assets and removing financial sanctions. But the United States said in June it was still “very concerned” about human rights and postponed its final decision for three months.

The Sudanese pound has weakened and prices have climbed since the United States deferred the decision despite pleas by Sudan that it has complied with all U.S. demands over human rights and other issues.

Price rises have been compounded by the government’s decision late last year to cut fuel and electricity subsidies in a bid to tighten its finances. Petrol prices rose by about 30 percent, leading to broader inflation. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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