• Currency Exchange Rate: Driven by foreign exchange shortages, the South Sudanese Pound (SSP) continued its depreciation in May. In Juba, the average exchange rate of one US Dollar was 305 SSP in the parallel market, while the official exchange rate was SSP 138, compared to 274 SSP and 136 SSP in the previous month. Given the low value of the local currency, the Central Bank of South Sudan introduced new 500 SSP bill in June.
• Cost of Food: The cost of standard food basket continued its increasing trends. The increase in the last few months could be associated mainly with the depreciation of local currency and the progress of the rainy season. In May 2018, Lakes, Central Equatoria and Northern Bahr el Ghazal were the three locations with the highest cost of the food basket.
• Cereal Prices: More than half of monitored markets experienced increase in cereal prices compared to the previous month. High transport cost associated with the rainy season could be a reason for the observed price upsurges.
• Prices: Rapid variation has been observed in fuel prices, especially in markets getting supply through informal cross border trade. In May, record high fuel price was observed in Aweil for diesel (SSP 740/L) and in Bunj for petrol (SSP 900/L), increases of 119 percent and 35 percent, respectively as compared to April 2018. It was mainly due to delay in supplies to petrol stations due to poor road conditions in the rainy season.
• Terms of Trade: In May 2018, mixed trends of goat to cereal ToT were observed. Markets (Yida, Juba and Torit) that have experienced cereal price increases and drop in goat prices have faced deterioration of ToT, whilst markets (Rumbek, Kapoeta South and Mingkaman) with increased goat price and stable cereal price showed improvements in their ToT.
▪ Outlook: If the currency exchange rate remains stable, availability of cereal from fresh harvest in Kampala will be likely to maintain prices in Juba not to go beyond the seasonal increases. However, markets receiving supplies through informal cross border trade from Sudan are likely to face increase in food prices.