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Kenya shilling vulnerable to the dollar

23 August 2013, 14:13

Nairobi - The Kenyan shilling held steady on Friday, with traders saying the local currency could come under pressure from importers buying dollars to pay for routine end-month shipments.

By 0746 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 87.45/65 per dollar, barely changed from Thursday's close of 87.50/70.

"With end-month dollar demand still in the market we may see some weakness in the shilling," a trader at a commercial bank said.

Traders also expect the crisis in Egypt to hurt tea flows, and pile pressure on the local currency. Egypt is one of the biggest buyers of Kenyan tea, the country's top revenue earner.

The market will also be positioning for the central bank's next policy meeting, scheduled for September 3. The bank held its main interest rate at 8.50 percent at its last meeting in July.

"My expectation is a hold decision, because they (central bank) don't want to push rates higher, but they still want to support the currency," said Sheikh Mehran, a senior trader at Kenya Commercial Bank

- Reuters

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