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Select Economic and Financial Indicators 2014 2015 2016 2017e 2018f
Real GDP (% change) 22.2 5.1 0.3 -6.3 -3.4
GDP (USD bn) 15.1 12.5 3.1 2.9 3.1
Inflation (average) 1.7 52.8 379.8 182.2 45.0
Fiscal Balance (% GDP) -9.2 -20.3 -23.1 5.8 -1.5
Broad Money (% change, end period) 3.9 13.6 26.4 7.2 17.1
Population (mn) 11.53 11.88 12.23 12.59 12.98
Exports (USD bn) 5.1 2.6 1.7 1.8 1.7
Imports (USD bn) 4.8 3.6 1.9 2.0 2.4
Current Account Balance (% GDP) -1.6 -4.2 -3.7 -2.1 -1.5
FX Reserves (USD bn, end period) 0.6 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1
Exchange Rate (average) 3.05 3.71 43.55 117.82 132.20
Oil production (mn bpd) 0.18 0.16 0.22 0.12 0.16

Economic Outlook

Economic Outlook

Real GDP: A combination of political instability and low oil prices has resulted in lack of investment in new fields to sustain oil production in South Sudan. Consequently, oil output has declined 35% to 119kbpd from 2013 levels. Though oil prices have staged a modest recovery since 2017, limited prospects of an end in sight to the civil war should continue to leave South Sudan’s oil sector (60% of GDP) in recession. Furthermore, the continued fighting, which has resulted in a sizable share of the populace now residing in refugee camps, has resulted in a collapse in agricultural activity (15% of GDP). With limited prospects of a conclusive resolution to civil war, we expect the real GDP to contract over 2018 (-3.4%; 2017e: -6.3%).

Inflation: A fall-out of the civil war has been the steep decline in agricultural activity leading to increased reliance on food imports. Accordingly, exchange rate movements have amplified supply side shocks to food inflation and we expect pass-through from persistent SSP depreciation (2017: -36%, 2016: -78%) to keep food prices elevated. On the demand side, outsized monetary financing of the fiscal deficit in 2016 (with broad money growth of over 200% y/y in 2016), which is likely to continue in 2017, given the cutback in donor support, should fuel core inflation. While base effects should provide scope for declining inflation over 2018 from the elevated levels of 2016-17, outlook speaks to elevated inflation in 2018 (45% y/y).

Fiscal balance: Following the price and production shocks to oil receipts (90% of government revenues), reduced donor funding and adverse effect of the unrest on non-oil revenues, South Sudan’s government has announced its intention to scale back fiscal expenditure. Specifically, the planned fiscal consolidation includes measures to raise VAT, withholding taxes on government contracts and taxes on alcohol and tobacco on the revenue side while cutting back expenditure on foreign missions, travel budgets and capital projects. Although the steep exchange rate depreciation should bolster fiscal oil receipts in SSP terms, non-oil receipts are likely to shrink, in line with the contraction in economic activity due to the war, implying limited scope for gains from the planned tax hikes. Furthermore, uptick in violence could trigger higher military related spending and tamer donor funding leading to elevated fiscal slippages. In all, absence of a lasting political settlement continues to stand in the path towards fiscal balancing over 2018.

Current account: Though oil prices hold positive connotations for overall exports, declining oil production limits scope of these gains. On the import side, following steep SSP depreciation and tight USD liquidity, with FX reserves only amounting to one week of import cover, import growth is likely to be subdued. On balance, the current account imbalance looks set to shrink moderately over 2018 largely reflecting the improved crude oil price picture.

Risks

The terse political situation and inability of the various parties in the South Sudanese conflict to arrive at a political resolution and peaceful settlement is the key risk to outlook.

FX, FI and Commodity Information

FX, FI and Commodity Information

Exchange rate structure

Regime Floating
Target No official target, but BoSS intervenes to limit exchange rate volatility
Type of intervention Via spot market
Convertible currency? No
Market participants n/a
Source: Bloomberg, IMF, and Ecobank Research

FX

FX Products Spot Forwards Non-deliverable Forwards Options Swaps
On offer Yes No No No No
Daily trading volume (USD mn) n/a n/a
Average trade size (USD mn) n/a
Average spread n/a
Trading hours 08:00-17:00
Settlement cycle T+2
FX Market Structure The BoSS, donors, and the oil sector are large suppliers of FX in South Sudan. The FX market is predominantly a USD sell market and, as such, skewed to the sell side.
Non-resident FX Regulations Spot Forwards Non-deliverable Forwards Options Swaps
Trade and FDI flow No restrictions n/a
Financial flow
Resident FX Regulations Spot Forwards Non-deliverable Forwards Options Swaps
Trade and FDI flow No restrictions n/a
Financial flow
Source: Bloomberg, IMF, and Ecobank Research

FI

Primary Market Treasury bills Treasury notes Treasury bonds Central Bank bills OMOs
Issuer n/a
End use
Maturity structure
Coupon
Coupon payments
Secondary Market
Daily trading volume n/a
Average trade size
Settlement cycle
Ecobank local affiliate contact details:
Ecobank South Sudan, Koita Complex, Ministries Road, Juba
Tel: +211 954 018 018 / +211 922 018 018
Source: Bloomberg, IMF, and Ecobank Research

FI Primary Market information

FI Primary Market information

South Sudan Debt 2014 2015 2016 2017e 2018f
Government debt (% GDP) 34.8 65.7 33.1 19.0 13.6
Sub-Sahara average 44.5 52.6 56.1 55.6 55.8
External debt (official creditors, % GDP) n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Sub-Sahara average 25.5 30.2 31.9 32.9 33.2
External public debt stock (USD bn) n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Share of total sub-Sahara debt (%) n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Source: IMF and World Bank

Commodity and trade information

Commodity and trade information

Hydrocarbon & mineral production

South Sudan is believed to hold rich reserves of minerals, including copper, diamonds, gold, lead, manganese, nickel, uranium and zinc. However, since the country gained independence in July 2011 political instability has prevented development of these resources. In 2017, two companies were granted permission to start gold mining in the Kapoeta and Jubek regions, but it is unclear when commercial production will start.

South Sudan produced an estimated 169,000 bpd of crude oil in 2015. The landlocked country relies on export pipelines owned and operated by Sudan, its sister country, to export its oil. Conflict between the government and rebel forces has periodically disrupted production, reducing output from a high of 204,000 bpd in February 2015 to 165,000 bpd by June that year. Since then, production has remained stable at around 160,000 bpd. Until a peace settlement is concluded the government will have to put on hold plans to ramp up output to 350,000 bpd. South Sudan consumed around 361,000 tonnes of petroleum products in 2015, most of which was imported from Middle Eastern and Asian refiners via Kenya and Sudan.

Soft commodity production

Since South Sudan gained independence in 2011 there have been no reliable statistics on agricultural production. An estimated 95% of the population works in agriculture, with livestock breeding and cereal cultivation dominating output. The country is known to produce gum Arabic, most of which is traded informally through neighbouring countries.

Trade flows

Imports

Trade data on South Sudan is unreliable, given the paucity of official statistics and disruption to trade flows caused by the civil conflict. According to the World Bank, South Sudan’s imports totalled US$161mn in 2016. Given the almost complete absence of a domestic manufacturing sector, these imports were likely made up of fuel, capital and consumer goods, industrial raw materials and food.

Exports

According to the World Bank, South Sudan’s exports totalled US$1.5bn in 2016, nearly all of which comprised crude oil exported via pipelines in Sudan to world markets. Large volumes of cash crops (notably Ugandan coffee), consumer goods and fuel are traded informally through South Sudan but are not captured by official data.

  • Flag
  • Population
    12.98M
  • Area
    644,329 sq km
  • Capital
    Juba
  • Largest city
    Juba
  • Official language
    Englishand Arabic
  • Major languages
    English, Arabic and Dinka
  • Currency
    South Sudanese pound

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