Sudan has asked its biggest trading partner China to use the yuan currency and Sudanese pounds rather than US dollars in their commercial exchanges, the central bank governor said on Wednesday. "If the Chinese agree to that, we might quit completely from dollars," Mohamed Khair al-Zubair told reporters.
"The Chinese economy is now the second biggest in the world and soon will become the biggest," he explained. Beijing has been hoping for wider use of the yuan in its international trade but the dollar remains the dominant currency in global transactions.
Energy-hungry China is the largest foreign investor in Sudan's oil sector, with two-way trade between the countries valued at $10 billion last year, according to a website of the Chinese embassy. A special Chinese envoy has been trying to resolve a dispute over oil exports between Sudan and South Sudan, which took 75 percent of the country's oil output when it gained independence in July. The vast majority of Khartoum's export earnings came from petroleum, leaving the government scrambling for ways to bolster its finances while fighting rising inflation - which the government sees reaching 17 percent next year - and the sharp devaluation of the Sudanese pound.
Beijing is also a major military supplier to Khartoum, which has suffered from US economic sanctions since 1997. In June, Chinese President Hu Jintao welcomed his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir to Beijing, where they signed economic agreements and sparked the anger of Washington, rights groups and the United Nations. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes allegedly committed in Sudan's Darfur region.