JUBA, Oct 9 (Reuters) - South Sudan's annual inflation easedslightly to 42.9 percent in September from 43.3 percent inAugust, driven mainly by a dip in the cost of food andnon-alcoholic beverages, official data showed on Tuesday.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 andhas introduced severe austerity measures to combat an economiccrisis caused by the shutdown of its oil industry in Januarythis year.
In September, the South signed trade and oil deals with itsold civil war foe Sudan that will allow for the oil wells to beturned back on. Before the shutdown oil contributed 98 percentof state income in one of the world's least developed countries.
The consumer price index rose by 0.3 percent in Septembercompared to August, the National Bureau of Statistics said inits monthly bulletin.
Month-on-month, the cost of food and non-alcoholic beveragesrose by 0.1 percent in September, the data showed. The cost ofhealthcare rose 32.5 percent in September.
Food makes up 71.39 percent of the inflation basket. Someanalysts have said actual inflation is higher than the officialfigures.
The South Sudanese pound has fallen sharply since oilrevenues dried up. But it recently regained some ground afterthe central bank signed a $100 million agreement with QatarNational Bank to help fund imports.
South Sudan needs to import most of its food as it has nosizeable industry outside the oil sector.
Following the agreements signed last month, Sudan this weekannounced it will re-open its border with the South.Cross-border trade largely stopped ahead of South Sudan'ssecession, severing historic supply routes from the north forfood, fuel and consumer goods.
South Sudan's largest oil company has said it expects toresume oil production, roughly 180,000 barrels per day, withinthree months.
(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Editing by Ulf Laessing andPatrick Graham)
Keywords: SOUTHSUDAN INFLATION/