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Egypt unrest may hurt tea exports weakening the shilling

16 August 2013, 12:29

Nairobi - The Kenyan shilling was slightly firmer on Friday as banks sold dollars ahead of the weekend, with traders saying the civil unrest in Egypt may hurt tea exports and thus putting pressure on the local currency.

By 0743 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 87.40/60 per dollar, stronger than Thursday's close of 87.50/60.

The currency recovered from a slide earlier in the week after the Central Bank of Kenya boosted supply via reverse repurchase agreements on Monday and Tuesday.

"The shilling has gained because the central bank has not been coming in to inject liquidity with repos," said Wilson Mutai, a trader at Gulf Bank.

Tea exports

"But given the scenario in Egypt and it being the main importer of Kenyan tea, the shilling (could) ...weaken in coming days."

Tea is the east African country's biggest foreign exchange earner.

Traders said the shilling could also come under pressure over the next two weeks as importers buy dollars to settle end-of-month payments.

- Reuters

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