Monthly Market Price Monitoring Bulletin
A report by World Food Programme early this year gave the economic gloomy picture of the continued price hike in the country. This is centred on the basic commodities popular in every house hold but which have become far reached by the majority.
Currency Exchange Rate: The South Sudanese Pound (SSP) continued to depreciate. In Juba, the average exchange rate in December was 190 per US Dollar in the parallel market, while the official rate was SSP 127 per US Dollar, compared to 182 and 125 respectively, in the previous month. The divergence between parallel market and official exchange rate was thus 50 percent. Compared to December 2016, the parallel market exchange rate has more than doubled (increase of 113 percent).
Food Prices: Intermittent seasonal harvests, coupled with humanitarian food assistance have contributed to a decrease in prices of sorghum, maize grain and maize flour in many local markets. Compared to November 2017, the price of white sorghum has decreased 12 to 22 percent in Yida, Torit, Rumbek and Wunrok while prices were stable in markets of Juba, Bor, Bentiu, Kapoeta South and Wau. In the same vein, due to seasonal factors the price has decreased for maize grain and maize flour in most of the monitored markets.
Terms of Trade (ToT): The purchasing power of livestock dependent households has deteriorated in Mingkaman (53 percent), Wunrok and Juba (9 percent each), while it remained stable in Torit and Kapoeta South, compared to November 2017. However, it has improved in Yida (6 percent), Rumbek (33 percent) and Aweil (35 percent) due to increase in the price of goats. Compared to a year ago, TOT has improved in most markets except for Yida and Konyokonyo. An average size goat fetched 9 to 20 malua of cereal in Mingkaman, Rumbek, Yida, Juba, Wau and Kapoeta South; while it fetched 30 to 41 malua of cereal in Wunrok, Torit and Aweil.
Fuel Prices: The resumption of import by private companies has improved availability of fuel at stations, mainly in Juba. The fuel prices at private fuel stations are set at one US Dollar equivalent to a parallel market currency exchange rate. In December 2017, one litre of petrol in Juba had an average cost of SSP 193, 23 percent lower than the previous month, while the diesel price remained the same at SSP 250 per litre. Improved availability of fuel in the capital has also benefited other markets through price transmission.
Outlook: The food prices are likely to remain similar in January 2018, unless the local currency depreciates significantly. The impact of recent devaluation of Sudanese currency and prices of food imported from Sudan need to be monitored.