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Shilling seen weaker as dollar demand picks up

20 August 2013, 12:58

Nairobi -  The Kenyan shilling was steady on Tuesday, with traders expecting it to stay vulnerable to demand for dollars from importers and the worsening political crisis in Egypt, a big buyer of Kenyan tea.

At 0716 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 87.45/65 per dollar, the level it closed at on Monday

"I can bet on a weaker shilling for now, because as we approach end-month we should see a number of buy tickets (for dollars) coming up," said Robert Gatobu, a trader at Bank of Africa.

Demand for dollars from importers rises routinely towards the end of the month as they pay for shipments.

"The supply side is limited ... the Egypt unrest is one of the reason why," Gatobu said.

Egypt is one of the biggest buyers of Kenyan tea, the east African country's top foreign exchange earner.

Tea is auctioned at the port city of Mombasa every Monday and Tuesday.

The shilling wobbled after the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi on July 3, as it had also done when strongman Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February 2011.

- Reuters

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