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Kenyan shilling steady, eyes on CBK mop-up

12 September 2013, 12:32

Nairobi - The Kenyan shilling was steady on Thursday, but the central bank's mopping up of excess liquidity from the money markets could lend support, traders said.

At 0657 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 87.45/65, little changed from Wednesday's close of 87.55/65.

"It's been steady for a while now," said Sheikh Mehran, a senior trader at Kenya Commercial Bank.

"I think it's being helped by some interest on the NSE (Nairobi Securities Exchange) from foreigners. But ... we have some corporate demand that has been with us for a while," he said, adding dollar demand typically came from oil importers.

Kenyan shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange have rallied since the central bank held key interest rates at 8.5 percent last week, with most of the foreign investor interest centred around the biggest capitalised stocks.

The benchmark NSE-20 share index was up 0.1 percent to close at 4,727.66 points on Wednesday, and is up 14.4 percent in the year to date.

Traders said the shilling could also get a lift from the central bank's mopping up of excess shilling liquidity, a move that makes it more expensive for institutions to hold dollars, pushing up demand for the shilling.

"We have seen the aggressive mopping up. That should support the shilling. Whatever (dollar) demand is there is countered by the tightening by the central bank. So I expect the range to hold," said a trader at one commercial bank.

- Reuters


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