Sudan has secured a $1.5bn loan from long-time trading partner China, the country’s Finance Minister ‘Ali Mahmoud said, which many hope could go some way toward easing its current economic crisis. The minister noted the loan would be coming from a Chinese bank, and guaranteed by state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) which is by far the largest foreign player in both Sudan and South Sudan’s still nascent oil industries.

It comes at a crucial time for Sudan which has seen its economy hammered by the loss of nearly three-quarters of its 450,000 b/d of oil production to South Sudan when the latter seceded in July 2011. Oil export revenues were estimated to have accounted for around 85% of Sudan’s total pre-secession export earnings, which in 1H11 amounted to around $7.5bn, according to the World Bank. Oil exports were also the main source of hard currency, with which Sudan would pay for crucial food imports, such sugar or wheat. (CONTINUED - 284 WORDS)