South Sudan’s central bank will auction $20 million to commercial banks on Monday, it said on Thursday, days after the finance minister said the country had abandoned its official fixed exchange rate and switched to a floating rate.
The central bank had stuck to a fixed official rate of 2.95 South Sudanese pounds per dollar even as the currency weakened steadily on the unofficial market after conflict erupted in the world’s newest nation in December 2013.
“The bank of South Sudan will sell $20 million to eligible Commercial banks through an auction to be held on Monday,” Moses Makur Deng, chairman of the central bank’s Foreign Exchange Auction Supervisory Committee, said in a statement.
Deng did not give reasons for the auction, but traders and ordinary citizens have struggled to secure dollars to pay for even basic imports or other essential items as the conflict there has caused a cut in oil production at a time when crude prices have slumped.
On Thursday, the South Sudan pound was being quoted at 18.000/18.0250 to the dollar, according to Thomson Reuters data.