Currency Exchange Rate: From July 2018, the South Sudanese Pound continued to gain value against the US Dollar in the parallel market. In August, the monthly average exchange rate in Juba was SSP 214 per USD 46 percent higher than the official exchange rate. The exchange rate in the parallel market appreciated by seven percent compared to July 2018. The parallel market exchange rate reached a peak of SSP 310 per USD in June 2018 but started appreciating thereafter and was 30 percent higher compared to August 2017. This difference is the lowest since the beginning of 2015. On the contrary, the official exchange rate has steadily but marginally increased per month since November 2016 and increased by four percent from SSP 142 in July to SSP 147 in August 2018. The exchange rate has been the major driver of food prices.
Grain Prices: In August 2018, the retail prices of cereal and cereal products dropped in most of the WFP monitored markets. The decrease in prices could be attributed to the appreciation of SSP, drop in staple cereal prices at source market (Uganda), better market supply at the start of the dry season, distribution of humanitarian assistance and the beginning of harvest season in some pocket areas.
Fuel Prices: Almost all monitored markets experienced a decrease in the fuel prices, mainly due to appreciation of local currency and the beginning of the dry season that eased off transportation. Juba, Aweil, Mingkaman, Yambio and Bor had the highest diesel price decrease ranging from 8 to 37 percent, compared to July 2018. Similarly, petrol price decreased by 6 to 31 percent in Juba, Mingkaman, Yambio, Bor, Kapoeta South and Torit.
Terms of Trade (ToT): The ToT between sorghum and an average size goat improved in Juba, Yida, Mingkaman and Wau, mainly due to drop in cereal prices. As a result, the purchasing power of livestock dependent households improved. On the contrary, the ToT in Aweil deteriorated by a quarter. ▪
Outlook: Stable prices of food commodities is expected in most of the markets in the coming three months, if the signed peace agreement holds, coupled with the continuity in the appreciation of SSP and distribution of humanitarian food assistance is uninterrupted.